Victory at last
KINGSTOWN – West Indies broke a five-year winning drought against Australia when they held their nerves to seal the second Digicel One-Day International (ODI) in a tense finish at Arnos Vale yesterday.
Set a modest 158 for victory after rain had earlier reduced the game to 40 overs per side, West Indies recovered from losing opener Kieran Powell to the first ball of the innings, to reach their target with ten balls to spare and claim a five-wicket victory under the Duckworth/Lewis Method.
The win was engineered by Kieron Pollard, who blasted four sixes in an unbeaten 47 from 61 balls.
His 64-run, fifth-wicket stand with fellow Trinidadian Dwayne Bravo proved invaluable, after the hosts had lost two quick wickets for seven runs to slump to 74 for four in the 19th over.
Bravo scored 30 from 49 balls but even after he was run out with victory in sight, there was no customary collapse, as Carlton Baugh entered to lash two fours and a six in an unbeaten 18 off 17 balls to see the hosts home.
It was the diminutive Jamaican who sealed the victory, launching left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty over the ropes at deep mid-wicket to send a capacity crowd into frenzied celebration.
The victory, the Windies’ first over Australia since the 2006 Champions Trophy, drew them level in the five-match series following their disappointing 64-run loss in the first ODI on Friday.
The match was also watched by a big crowd that included Chris Gayle amidst reports of a possible imminent resolution to the stand-off between the opening batsman and regional cricket authorities.
Earlier, mystery off-spinner Sunil Narine claimed four for 27 as West Indies bowlers once again bowled superbly on a difficult batting wicket to restrict Australia to 154 for nine.
After a total of two-and-a-half hours play was lost to rain in the morning, Australia’s batsmen struggled on the surface, with a few getting starts but failing to carry on.
David Hussey topscored with 37, captain Shane Watson got 25, Mike Hussey 24 and George Bailey, 21.
Narine, in only his fifth ODI, once again proved difficult to get away as he bowled an unforgiving length.
Pacer Kemar Roach (two for 23) bowled with pace and accuracy to claim the first two wickets to fall – David Warner for 13 and Peter Forrest without scoring – as Australia slipped to 19 for two in the seventh over.
Watson clipped a catch to substitute Devendra Bishoo at short mid-wicket off Sammy at 46 for three in the 14th over but the Hussey brothers, Mike and David, added 31 for the fourth wicket. Mike counted just one boundary in his 52-ball knock before he edged a drive at Narine behind to give the Trinidadian his first wicket.
With the Aussies tottering on 121 for six in the 34th over, Narine then ran through the lower order.
West Indies were off to the worst possible start when Powell offered no shot to pacer Brett Lee and was palpably lbw.
Aggressive opener Johnson Charles and Marlon Samuels pulled the hosts around with a 42-run second-wicket stand.
Charles faced 37 balls and stroked two fours and a mighty six over long-on off Lee while Samuels got 20 from 37 balls before he was yorked by Watson in the 11th over.
Charles and Darren Bravo (16) had posted 25 for the third wicket when Bravo refused a second run and left his right-handed partner stranded mid-pitch in the 16th over.
With seven runs added, Bravo dragged on to Doherty, leaving the Windies in familiar turmoil at 74 for four.
His older brother, Dwayne, joined forces with Pollard to reignite the innings.
As expected Pollard was the aggressor, twice clearing the boundaries at mid-wicket and long off with effortless blows.
Even when Bravo departed, Baugh kept his cool in a 25-run, sixth-wicket stand off 30 balls with Pollard that saw the Windies home. (CMC/HG)