Rampant Australia storm to 2-1 series victory in ODIs against West Indies
By Devarchit Varma July 27, 2021
A second string Australian cricket team stormed to a commanding six-wicket victory in the third and final one-day international against the West Indies, played at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, on Monday. Chasing a modest total, Australia made 153/4 in their 30.3 overs with Matthew Wade scoring an unbeaten 51 and Australia’s captain for the series, Alex Carey, making 35.
Australia thus clinched the three-match series 2-1, having won the first match of the series in a commanding manner but losing the second in what turned out to be an embarrassing batting performance for the visiting side. A
This win was certainly a memorable one for the visiting Australian which was without plenty of their superstar cricketers, including their regular captain Aaron Finch, batting mainstays David Warner and Steve Smith along with fast bowler Pat Cummins.
While Finch was sidelined from the tour and is currently running the risk of missing the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021 owing to a knee surgery which he had to undergo recently, the others in Smith, Warner and Cummins opted for rest as they cited by bio-bubbles fatigue, having just returned from Indian T20 2021 duty when the squads for ODIs and T20Is in the Caribbean were announced.
Carey with 112 runs in three matches and Wade with 90 runs in as many games were the star performers for Australia with the bat, with both bringing up one half-century each.
On the other hand, it was a memorable outing for the lanky and senior Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc, who claimed 11 wickets in three matches to top the list for most wicket takers for either teams in the series, followed by Hayden Walsh with 7 and Alzarri Joseph and Akeal Hosein at 6 each for the home team.
Evin Lewis was the star performer for the Caribbean side in the third and final match as despite taking a severe blow to his head, which forced him to retire hurt, he returned to score an unbeaten 55 from 66 balls with three sixes and five boundaries — an innings that pushed West Indies to a total of 152 in 45.1 overs.
While Lewis was absolutely belligerent with the bat, the other Caribbean batsmen were found wanting with plenty of them feeling after getting starts. Shai Hope (14), Darren Bravo (18), Kieron Pollard (11) and Alzarri Joseph (15) were a few of the home team batsmen who got among runs, but not as many as they would have liked.
For Australia, Starc returned with figures of 9.1-0-43-3 whereas his bowling partner Josh Hazlewood was magnificent, returning with 8-1-18-2. Ashton Agar was named the man of the match for his splendid bowling, as his figures read 10-1-31-2.
The visitors were off to a shaky start when their opener Moises Henriques was dismissed for one by Hosein, while the others in Josh Phillippe (10), Mitchell Marsh (29) and Carey (35) did well to take Australia close to the target.
The senior Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Wade was the top scorer with 52 ball 51 not out, studded with five boundaries and two sixes as he finished the chase in the company of Ashton Agar, who reached 19 not out.
How did West Indies win the second ODI?
It was for the first time in as many as 22 years that Australia made a total in 180s against West Indies in one-day international cricket — both home and away.
For those interested, Australia recorded as many as eight scores in 180s in ODI cricket between 1978 and 1999, but since then they never had such a poor performance with the bat as they had in the second ODI.
Australia were struggling at 45/6 at one stage after they elected to bat first in the second ODI. Hosein was the wrecker-in-chief for Australia, returning with 3/30 whereas the others in Joseph took 3/39 and Sheldon Cottrell claimed 2/29.
Wade once again came to the rescue for Australia with the bat, scoring a vital 36 whereas Wes Agar surprised everyone with his innings’ top score of 41. Adam Zampa made 36 as Australia finished at 187 in 47.1 overs.
In reply, the West Indies were off to a shaky start as well, being reduced to 72/5 at one stage but the pair of Nicolas Pooran, who made 59 not out from 75 balls, and Jason Holder’s 52 not out from 69 balls took them past the finish line and had them square the series 1-1.
Starc was once again rollicking with the ball, returning with 10-1-26-3, well supported by Zampa who took 2/43 from his nine overs. Batting all-rounder Turner also rolled over his arm, returning with 6-0-37-1.
Australia were rampant in first ODI too
It can be said that the West Indies got lucky with Australia’s batting collapse in the second ODI, since their batting has been poor in longer formats which was very much evident in the ODI series.
In a rain truncated opening ODI of the three-match series, it was Australia who won the toss and chose to bat. The hunch was absolutely right for Australia’s new captain Carey as his wards produced a brilliant all-round performance.
Phillippe made 39, Ben McDermott made 28, Mitchell Marsh at No 3 did not work well as he could make only 20 whereas Henriques scored 7. Carey top-scored with 67 from 87 balls, smacking five boundaries and two sixes and was well supported by Turner, who made 49 from 45 balls with a couple of sixes and as many boundaries.
The pair of Starc and Hazlewood claimed eight wickets between them. Starc returned with 8-1-48-5 whereas Hazlewood did what he does best — he bowled a tight spell to return with 6-1-11-3 as the West Indies were bowled out for only 123 and 26.2 overs.
West Indies captain Pollard waged a lone battle, scoring 56 from 57 balls, but the others were just too poor in the first game of the series.
The West Indies, who won the five-match T20I series before this ODI affair 4-1, would want to carry their form when they face Pakistan at home for four T20Is and two Tests, starting July 28.
Australia will now head to Bangladesh where they are set to play a five-match T20I series starting August 3.
Devarchit Varma is a cricket writer and journalist with an experience of more than a decade, having worked at Hindustan Times (newspaper) and CricketCountry (website). Along with covering international and domestic cricket, he has also interviewed several current and former top players such as Rohit Sharma, Steve Smith, Dale Steyn, Michael Hussey, Jacques Kallis, Brendon McCullum, Shane Watson, Lasith Malinga and many more. He has also worked in other beats as a journalist in Bollywood (Reliance BigOye) and IT (SiliconIndia) industries.
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