By Akeem Greene.
Watched by a close to capacity crowd, a combination of steady bowling by the Australians and irresponsible batting by the West Indies batsmen was the main reason for Australia’s convincing six wicket win in the second day/night match of the Ballr Tri-Nation Series at the National Stadium, Providence on Sunday.
The home side were bowled out cheaply for a paltry 116 in 32.3 overs, the second lowest total in a One Day International (ODI) at Providence, as the spin combination of Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa combined to take six wickets for 55 runs in 15.3 overs.
An unbeaten 53 by Aussies opener David Warner drove the Australian’s chase, as they reached their target of 117 in 25.4 overs which allowed them to gain a valuable bonus point.
Mystery spinner Sunil Narine opened the bowling but that played little in stifling the visitors’ run chase as they motored to 44 inside eight overs when Windies captain Jason Holder trapped Aaron Finch leg before for 19.
The in-form Warner continued in usual aggressive style to help his side reach fifty in the 10th over with his personal score on 26 and the number three Usman Khwaja on eight.
The left-handed Khwaja played some handsome drives in an attractive 44-run partnership with Warner, before he top-edged a Sulieman Benn delivery to fall for 27 (5x4s) with the Aussies 85-2 at the end of the 17th over.
The change of ends for Narine proved to be the spark the West Indians needed, as the off-spinner who started from the top end was switched to the players pavilion end where struck twice in one over. The mystery spinner first trapped Steve Smith (06) leg before then delivered a gem of a ball to bowl Glen Maxwell (00) through the gates and give the match some life with the Australians 92-2, still needing 25 more for the win.
The experienced Warner seemed unmoved by the West Indian revival as the 29-year old reached his fifteenth ODI half-century off just 49 balls.
Warner along with all-rounder Mitchell Marsh ensured a batting collapse was not on the cards by shepherding their team victory with a 146 balls to spear; Narine took 2-36 in a valiant effort, while Holder and Benn picked up one wicket a piece.
Earlier, Smith won the toss and choose to bowl after the match was delayed due to a wet outfield and the Aussie decked in their canary yellow outfit got immediate success in the first over of the match.
Left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc steaming in from the Media Center End had an eventful first over, with a close leg before call, a waist high no ball, then he floated one wide to which Andre Fletcher (04) played a loose shot straight to Glen Maxwell at point, to leave the home side 6 for 1 in the first over.
Johnson Charles had an early chance on five, when he played a flashing drive and was dropped by Smith at first slip but at the other end, Darren Bravo looked in total control with some eye-catching drives and authoritative pull shots to put the pressure back on the visitors.
A string of dot balls hampered the fluency of the batsmen and could have resulted in Bravo playing what can be considered a poor shot when he stroked a Mitchell Marsh delivery straight to extra cover to fall for an attractive 19 (3x4s) from 31 balls.
Starc returned from the Southern End where he uprooted the stumps of Charles with a classical in-swinging yorker to end the batsman’s struggling innings of 22 from 40 balls and left the team in a precarious position at 59-3 in the 14th over.
The experienced Marlon Samuels (10) came and went after he played a lazy shot to be adjudged leg before off the bowling of Lyon.
Kieron Pollard, who displayed maturity with his match winning knock two nights ago, played an unnecessary shot as he lofted his first ball straight down the throat of mid-on to put the West Indies in serious trouble with just 70 runs on the board and half the side gone in the 17th over.
Denesh Ramdin was next to go, when he played across the line and fell for a painstaking twelve as Maxwell joined the party to leave the host six down in the 23rd over.
As the wickets continued to tumble and no partnerships were forming, captain Jason Holder (01) was bowled by Zampa and Sulieman Benn (03) pushed one straight back to Lyon, as an all-out total below a hundred was begging to look more likely with the team 91 for 8 in the 27th over.
Narine who did the job with the ball the previous match, was now needed with the bat as he struck the first boundary since the 9th over.
A useful partnership of seemed to brewing between Narine and Carlos Brathwaite as the pair got their team to the hundred but Narine played a rash shot when he chipped to Adam Zampa to be out stumped for five.
The innings came to a close when the valiant knock of 21 (1×4; 1×6) by Brathwaite ended when he held out to a well-judged catch at long-on.
The off-spin of Lyon accounted for 3-39 while the skiddy leg-spin of Zampa took 3-16; while Starc took 3-39 on his return to international cricket.
Nathan Lyon was named man of the match for his impressive bowling performance on a typical low and slow Providence track.
The next match of the series is on Tuesday at the same venue, when South Africa will look to notch their first win of the series against Australia from 13:00 hrs. (email@example.com)