BRIDGETOWN: Australia handed the West Indies a six-wicket defeat on Monday to clinch a 2-1 One-day International series victory and leave home captain Kieron Pollard criticising the quality of the Kensington Oval pitch in Bridgetown.
The Australians cruised past their modest target of 153 with just over 19 overs remaining as Matthew Wade top scored for the tourists with an undefeated 51 (52 balls, two sixes, five fours), ensuring stand-in captain Alex Carey led the team to a series victory.
“I think both teams struggled on the pitch and I think that’s unacceptable for international cricket,” said Pollard, whose team was bowled out with more than four overs remaining. “We’re not going to make excuses. We accept that we batted badly but I don’t think the scores that we have gotten in this three-match series, with two top international teams, I think that’s very embarrassing for us as a people.
“I think it is unacceptable for international cricket. Coming from St Lucia [where West Indies won the Twenty20 International series 4-1] to this, I think it is absolutely ridiculous.”
All five Australian bowlers claimed wickets with Mitchell Starc taking 3-43 while his new-ball partner Josh Hazlewood took 2-18 from eight economical overs.
Starc’s effort lifted his series wicket haul to 11 and confirmed the left-arm pacer as player-of-the-series.
“It’s my role in the team to use whatever pace and swing I have consistently through my spells,” said Starc in putting his performances in the match and the series in context. “It helps when I’ve got Josh at the other end and the spinning quality we have as well in support.”
There was joy, too, for slow left-armer Ashton Agar, who relished the conditions. Having been selected to replace younger brother and pacer Wes on a surface expected to favour the slow bowlers, he responded with figures of 2-31 off his allotted 10 overs and then contributed an important 19 not out in an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 54 with Wade to take his side through what could have been tricky chase. He was named player-of-the-match.
The West Indies struggled with the bat, with only opener Evin Lewis making a significant contribution against the tourists with a knock of 55. His innings came after he had been temporarily forced from the field having played a ball from Hazlewood onto his own helmet with the West Indies at 14-0.
By the time he returned following Pollard’s dismissal, the hosts were 71-5 and although Lewis continued to offer resistance, he was soon left unaccompanied at the crease with the West Indies all out for 152 in 45.1 overs.
That total caused the Australians few problems, with Carey steadying his team after the early loss of Moises Henriques and Josh Philippe before Wade and Agar combined to lead the tourists to victory.
“Personally and collectively it’s really exciting,” said Carey, who replaced the regular Australia white-ball Aaron Finch leader as captain after he returned home with a knee injury. “It’s tough to leave home during a pandemic and the commitment that this group has shown, it’s fantastic to see a result go our way.
“I thought the bowlers did a great job. I think there were some good innings throughout the series.”
E. Lewis not out 55
S.D. Hope c Marsh b Agar 14
S.O. Hetmyer b Hazlewood 6
D.M. Bravo c Philippe b Agar 18
N. Pooran b Turner 3
K.A. Pollard c Turner b Starc 11
J.O. Holder b Zampa 5
A.S. Joseph c Carey b Hazlewood 15
H.R. Walsh c Henriques b Starc 7
A.J. Hosein st Carey b Zampa 3
S.S. Cottrell b Starc 0
EXTRAS (B-4, LB-4, W-7) 15
TOTAL (all out, 45.1 overs) 152
FALL OF WKTS: 1-24, 2-41, 3-46, 4-59, 5-71, 6-75, 7-119, 8-132, 9-137.
BOWLING: Starc 9.1-0-43-3 (3w); Hazlewood 8-1-18-2; Agar 10-1-31-2 (2w); Turner 8-1-23-1 (1w); Zampa 10-2-29-2 (1w).
NOTE: Lewis (5) retired hurt from 14-0 to 71-5.
J.R. Philippe c Hope b Joseph 10
M.C. Henriques lbw b Hosein 1
A.T. Carey lbw b Walsh 35
M.R. Marsh c Hope b Cottrell 29
M.S. Wade not out 51
A.C. Agar not out 19
EXTRAS (W-7, NB-1) 8
TOTAL (for four wkts, 30.3 overs) 153
FALL OF WKTS: 1-10, 2-27, 3-65, 4-99.
DID NOT BAT: D.T. Christian, A.J. Turner, M.A. Starc, A. Zampa, J.R. Hazlewood.
BOWLING: Cottrell 3-0-34-1 (4w); Holder 5-0-17-0; Hosein 10-1-29-1 (1nb, 2w); Joseph 3-0-14-1; Walsh 7-0-41-1 (1w); Pollard 2-0-12-0; Pooran 0.3-0-6-0.
RESULT: Australia won by six wickets to win three-match series 2-1.
UMPIRES: J.S. Wilson (West Indies) and L.A. Reifer (West Indies).
TV UMPIRE: N. Duguid (West Indies).
MATCH REFEREE: R.B. Richardson (West Indies).
PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Ashton Agar.
PLAYER-OF-THE-SERIES: Mitchell Starc.
FIRST MATCH: Bridgetown, Australia won by 133 runs.
SECOND MATCH: Bridgetown, West Indies won by four wickets.
Published in Dawn, July 28th , 2021