West Indies v Australia, 2nd ODI, Kingstown
The last time the West Indies have beaten Australia in an ODI was way back in October 2006 in Mumbai at the Champions Trophy. Well, that drought of five and a half years ended this morning as the West Indies earned a deserved 5 wicket victory to get the monkey off the back. Australia had won 13 times as well as a no result during that stretch. And you have to go back all the way to June 2003 (almost 9 years ago) for the West Indies’ last win at home against the Aussies.
Both teams went into this match unchanged from the 1st ODI. I felt perhaps Andre Russell could have been dropped in favour of another fast-bowling option but he returned much better figures today. For Australia, sticking with the same line-up is justified seeing as they were coming off a win. There was some pressure on Peter Forrest for his slow batting and lack of runs recently but he retained his place. Selectors were also looking to bring in Nathan Lyon as a second spinner to complement Xavier Doherty, such is the slowness of the pitch. It’s the same venue, but a different strip to the one used in the 1st ODI. Batsmen will need to play more on the back-foot waiting for the ball to react off the surface, as opposed to driving at fuller balls which can result in leading edges and the catching men between point and the slips come into play.
After losing his last 9 tosses in ODIs, Darren Sammy finally won for a change and decided to bowl. 5 overs into the Australian innings there was a rain delay of almost 3 hours and that reduced the match to 40 overs per-side. Kemar Roach, who I’ve thought has been their best bowler so far over the 2 matches, took a double wicket maiden in the 7th over, removing Warner for 13 and then Forrest for a fourth-ball duck. Another failure puts even more weight on a potential Forrest axing (no pun intended) for Tuesday’s 3rd ODI. By the end of this over, Roach had figures of 2/4.
The Aussies never really got going, with their run-rate hovering around 3 per-over. Sunil Narine, who impressed without reward on Friday, got his due wickets this time round. He took 4/27 to get man-of-the-match honours and was crucial to restricting Australia to just 9/154. His first over was fascinating. He bowled an eye-catching maiden to Mike Hussey, generating huge turn away from the left hander. Hussey had been dropped on 9 earlier by the usually safe hands of Kieron Pollard at backward point. But Narine dismissed Hussey eventually for 24. His other victims were all Victorians, David Hussey, Matthew Wade and Clint McKay.
David Hussey top-scored with 37 and George Bailey looked promising with a gorgeous cover drive before falling for 21. Had he hung around for longer, it could have been the impetus for a score closer to 175 (the par score in my mind).
Instead of the West Indies chasing 155, Duckworth/Lewis calculations adjusted the target to 158. Most people have no idea how these things work including me but 3 runs more for the West Indies to chase was, at least in hindsight, not the difference between winning and losing.
Kieran Powell was out plum lbw for a golden duck, shouldering arms to an inswinging delivery from Brett Lee on the very first ball of the run chase. It was a terrible leave regardless of whether you judge it on line or length. Watching replay after replay made it look even more cringe-worthy.
Kieron Pollard with 47 not-out was the mainstay of the successful run-chase which was secured with 10 balls remaining. Oddly enough, Pollard struck 4 sixes, but not 1 four. I guess that’s just the way he likes it. The most devastating of them was a monstrous hit over midwicket, which bounced off the roof and out of the ground, requiring a replacement ball. With him at the end was Carlton Baugh, who struck the winning runs with a six over midwicket.
The West Indies’ running between wickets was diabolical at times; it was the mode of dismissal for 2 of the 5 wickets that fell. Even still, it was a pretty comfortable run-chase.
The pitches on the Arnos Vale Ground are slow and favour bowlers, especially spin bowlers, and the low scoring is a testament to that. No one has had to raise the bat for a 50-run milestone, with George Bailey’s 48 in the first ODI being the highest score so far. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lyon brought in for the 3nd ODI. And Brett Lee needs to be dropped. As much as I like him, he is leaking too many runs and as soon as either James Pattinson or Ben Hilfenhaus is available, they should be selected. Clint McKay is someone I have been impressed with, continuing his good form from the home ODI tri-series. His figures were 0/16 off 8 overs, so no wickets, but 2 maidens and only conceding 2 runs per-over.
The Aussie batsmen let us down a bit today; even Shane Watson admitted they were 20-30 runs short of par. With the series now level at 1-1, the West Indies will be buoyed by confidence heading into the 3rd ODI on Tuesday, once again at Kingstown.
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