West Indies v Australia, 1st ODI, Kingstown
After the resurgent Australian team finished the summer on a high by winning the ODI tri-series, there is no time for a break, not yet anyway. The very next morning, at 6am, they boarded a plane for the Caribbean Islands. If you’re unfamiliar with your geography, that’s quite a long time on the plane.
It’s their first tour of the West Indies in 4 years (since2008). On that occasion, we won a 3-match Test series 2-0 (with a draw) and clean-swept the ODI series 5-0. The West Indies’ only win was in the one-off T20. Typical!
The itinerary is almost identical this time round, with an additional T20. First up 5 ODIs, followed by 2 T20s. Then off with the colour clothing. There will be a 3-day practice match before the 3 Test matches. All this happens over a span of 6 weeks.
Now onto the actual match.
The 1st ODI was played at Kingstown, which is actually the venue for the first 3 ODIs. The result, a crushing 64 run win to the Aussies. 64 runs might not sound that crushing but in a low scoring match, I can assure you it was.
Ben Hilfenhaus missed out because of a virus, James Pattinson was injured. Lendl Simmonds and Adrian Barath both missed out for the West Indies with finger injuries. Coincidence or am I being overly curious?
George Bailey and Johnson Charles made their debuts.
Anyway, Shane Watson won the toss and elected to bat and we made 8/204 on a slowish pitch. It sounds like a low score but the average first innings on this pitch in the last 10 matches is 202, so anything between 200-225 was par.
Early on, no one could get their timing going and later when they did they found fieldsmen. Warner started to hit some boundaries, albeit off poor bowling at times. Andre Russell went for 16 off his first over and captain Darren Sammy took him off straight away. The main spinner, Sunil Narine, who I’d never seen before, was impressive. But that was to be expected as the pitch suited spinners ideally.
A big bonus for the West Indies was when part-timer Marlon Samuels took 2 wickets in 1 over; big wickets as well, David Warner after looking good for 40, then David Hussey for a duck. Another Victorian, Matthew Wade, was also out for a duck, the golden variety though.
George Bailey was good on debut with a fine 48, that was the highest score from either team for the match; enough to earn him man-of-the-match.
West Indies were terrible in the run-chase. I was quite disappointed in their lack of fighting spirit. Chasing a small target of 205, you are never out of the game unless you want to give up and I felt they did.
After 23 overs, they looked fine; they were 3/97, almost half-way to the target. They only needed 108 off 162. The required run-rate was a non-issue.
But then, they folded, miserably. Dan Christian sparked the collapse ending the match’s biggest partnership, worth 64 between Samuels and Dwayne Bravo. Christian removed the off bail and Bravo was out for 32.
In the very next over, Doherty struck twice, dismissing Samuels who played a reckless shot edging to slip, then Carlton Baugh was trapped plum lbw playing a sweep.
Doherty had an interesting game, he took 4 wickets, he could have got MOM, but he was fairly expensive, going for more than a run a ball. Doherty conceded 5 of the 7 sixes for the match including 3 in one over with Marlon Samuels on the right side of that onslaught. The West Indies did win something; they hit all 7 of the sixes in the match.
But before they knew it, they were 9/104. So from 3/97 to 9/104, that’s 6/7 in a 5 over patch. A late rally from the skipper Sammy, who blasted 35 off 20, saw them at least make 140 before being dismissed. Almost all their wickets were very soft. It wasn’t a good look. It didn’t look like they valued their wicket. It looked reckless. It looked like they just wanted to get off the field.
I feel like Wade being made to bat at no.7 is a bit of a waste of talent. For mine, he should open, even if playing a pinch-hitting role.
I like the colour, a nice vibrant yellow for the Aussies’ uniform, took us back a few years. It’s ironic that their away top is more connecting to the Australian people than their dark green home clothing.
It must be said, the West Indies aren’t really full of talent. Even for loyal cricket-followers, most of the team are relative unknowns. Only Samuels and Bravo have played over 100 ODIs. It’s a pity Chris Gayle can’t play. Why can’t he play? It’s complicated. He has to apologise to the West Indies cricket board for a previous incident. In short, a mixture of egos and politics those seem to always get in the way for the West Indies.
So a 1-0 series lead to the Australians. The 2nd ODI is on Sunday, which equates to 12:30am (for Melbourne) on what would officially be Monday morning.