A lost cause
SYDNEY – West Indies flopped yet again and Australia maintained their dominance in the five-match One-Day International series, cruising to a five-wicket victory and 4-0 lead at the Sydney Cricket Ground today.†
Only a belligerent unbeaten century from Man-of-the-Match Kieron Pollard gave the West Indies a respectable score of 220 after they were 55 for six at one stage on a pitch with few terrors.
But the Windies’ score was easily run down by the Australians, who secured victory with 31 balls to spare and will now go after a series whitewash in Melbourne on Sunday (Saturday night Barbados time).
If not for Pollard’s 109 off 136 balls it would have been an even more emphatic victory for Michael Clarke’s team who always had control of the run chase under lights.
Shane Watson followed up his 122 in Wednesday’s 39-run series-clinching win in Canberra with 76 off 84 balls and skipper Clarke hit 37 off 65 balls before he was out gloving down the leg-side to express bowler Tino Best with the scores level. Best, playing his first game of the series, bowled with tremendous pace frequently clocking in excess of 150 kph.
Yet despite Australia’s dominance the towering Pollard was named Man-of-the-Match for preventing his team’s innings from falling apart after it had tottered at 55 for six before a series of late partnerships gave his side something to defend.
It was Pollard’s third ODI century and his second against Australia and he had to curb his usual aggressive batting style as the West Indies threatened to repeat their total of 70 in the first ODI of the series in Perth.
“I saw a lot of balls that (Glen) Maxwell bowled and there were a lot of tempting deliveries to go after but I had to curb that,” Pollard said.
Mitchell Johnson ripped into the West Indies top order removing Johnson Charles (0) Kieran Powell (9) and Darren Bravo (4) to have the West Indies wobbling at 17 for three.
Bravo’s brother, Dwayne, lasted eight balls for his three before he was given out leg before wicket to Maxwell on review.
Narsingh Deonarine got a thick edge off Ben Cutting to Aaron Finch at second slip for 10. Wicketkeeper Devon Thomas went for seven after a long review concluded that the ball carried to Finch at slip for Cutting’s second wicket.
Andre Russell put on 35 runs with Pollard for the eighth wicket before he holed out to Maxwell at long-off off James Faulkner for 18 off 17 balls.
Sunil Narine joined in the best partnership of the innings of 64 before he was caught behind off Clint McKay for 23.
Best was run out for one in a mix-up with Pollard in the final over.
Johnson finished with three for 36 off his 10 overs and Cutting captured three for 45 off 10.
Finch made 25 before he was dismissed in the 10th over of the Australian innings leg before wicket to spinner Narine.
Watson and Phillip Hughes put on 62 for the second wicket before Hughes was caught at slip off the back of his glove for 23 as he tried to lap sweep Narine.
Watson had a bit of luck along the way when he was dropped on 32 by wicketkeeper Devon Thomas, a simple enough chance, and Narine botched a run out with the Australian opener well out of his ground when on 51. He was finally out when he could not get out of the way of a rearing Best delivery and was caught behind.
Adam Voges, in the team for injured George Bailey, made 28 off 39 balls before he holed out to Darren Sammy off Russell and Clarke was the last man out with the scores tied.
Best finished with two for 38 and Narine two for 34.
West Indies dropped the out-of-form Ramnaresh Sarwan for Deonarine, while Johnson Charles, whose first-class and international record is abysmal, came in for the slightly injured, but also out-of-form Chris Gayle.††