Australia v West Indies, 4th ODI, Sydney February 8, 2013

West Indies stay winless despite Pollard ton


Australia 5 for 221 (Watson 76) beat West Indies 220 (Pollard 109*, Johnson 3-36, Cutting 3-45) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Shane Watson's life without bowling is so far turning out to be a life without worries - for him, and for Australia. Another fluent innings from Watson set the hosts on the path to a leisurely five-wicket victory over the West Indies at the SCG, thus extending the series ledger to 4-0 in favour of Michael Clarke's team as they begin to be fragmented by departures for the imminent tour of India.

Forming important early stands with Aaron Finch and Phillip Hughes, Watson showed there was little bowling joy to be found in a pitch on which the visitors earlier slipped to 6 for 55. Kieron Pollard's admirable rearguard had dragged the visitors' tally to 220 and at least ensured the lights would be required before 18,161 spectators watched Australia strolling home with 31 balls to spare.

Watson played handsome strokes all around the ground, while also absorbing a teasing spell from Sunil Narine, but was given a major helping of good fortune on 32 when wicketkeeper Devon Thomas dropped the sort of chance any gloveman would have been embarrassed to turf. The West Indies were again their own worst enemies when Narsingh Deonarine spurned a chance to run out Hughes, taking the ball but disturbing the stumps with his arm as he did so.

Pollard's century notwithstanding, Australia's target had been kept well within reach by Mitchell Johnson, who had done his best impression of the rested Mitchell Starc to zip through the visitors' batting. None of the West Indian top four reached double figures, leaving Pollard attempting to cobble some kind of total together in a match rendered dead by Australia's completion of an unassailable 3-0 margin on Wednesday night in Canberra.

Supported by Ben Cutting, Clint McKay and a tidy Glenn Maxwell, Johnson grabbed three early wickets to turn the West Indies innings into a salvage operation for Pollard after their captain Darren Sammy had little hesitation batting first on a dry, hard surface that offered bounce.

Finch and Watson began the chase with good sense, striding to a second half-century opening stand in as many innings before Finch was pinned lbw by Narine. Reviewing the decision, Finch discovered the ball was straight enough and clipping the top of the stumps, sending him on his way for another total that indicated more promise than substance.

Hughes was soon playing in Watson's slipstream, the target steadily reduced, but he did not exploit the missed run out, gloving an attempted paddle sweep to slip after struggling to deal with Narine's spin, which from the outset of the innings had seemed West Indies' lone hope of inducing a rush of wickets.

Watson prevented this however, and had left the middle order a task far from taxing by the time Thomas did hang onto a chance, a swift delivery from Tino Best taking bat handle or glove. The remainder of the chase was more comfortable than memorable, though Matthew Wade roused the crowd by hoicking his first ball - a free-hit from Andrew Russell - into the Members Stand, and the win was momentarily delayed when Clarke gloved Best behind with only one run required.

It had seemed a useful toss for Sammy to win on a pristine afternoon, but Johnson found enough new ball swing to bring back the tourists' repressed memories of being shot down for 70 at the WACA ground. In the fourth over Johnson Charles was utterly defeated by a delivery bending back late to pluck out his off stump. McKay was giving nothing away at the other end, allowing Johnson to attack, and Kieran Powell fell victim to another swinging ball before Darren Bravo failed to ride the bounce.

Dwayne Bravo was given lbw on referral when Maxwell straightened an off break into him, then Cutting extracted useful bounce on his arrival to the bowling crease that accounted for Deonarine and Thomas, the latter sent on his way after the third umpire reviewed Finch's low catch.

At that point another pre-dinner finish beckoned, but Pollard provided a reminder of the batting skill that drove him to a century against the same opponents in St Lucia last year. He did so with greater restraint than has usually been characteristic in forming stands of 35 with Andre Russell and 64 with Narine.

Pollard waited until his 115th delivery to swing for the fences, crashing James Faulkner's slower ball over wide long-on, and he added another off McKay before jumping for joy upon reaching three figures. Well as he played, the final tally was never likely to be enough. Watson's authority made that certain.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • charlie on February 11, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    It pains to hear people blaming Sammy or the coach for the failures of incompetent individuals . You can talk until the cows come home ,or preach until your tongue turn's blue ,it wouldn't make a difference if a player doesn't have what it takes to assess the situation and go out there and perform accordingly . Your team has victory in sight and you [ Narine and Deonarine ] gifts your wickets . So often in games , Players trying to hit balls for sixes when the situation doesn't warrant such , only to be caught on the boundary ; can't blame the coach for that ! It's a combination of poor application and lack of ability rather than captaincy or coaching , in my my opinion .

  • Tanmay on February 10, 2013, 1:38 GMT

    now people know how much important Marlon Samuels is to the WI line up

  • Dummy4 on February 9, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    W.I. continue to repeat their mistakes.SAD.We have such great young talent that continue to be wasted.Will we ever again get it right?

  • Mark on February 9, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    I hate to break up the West Indies discussion, but what about Mitchell Starc? Beautiful bowling.

  • Reuel on February 9, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    The Wi team selection is all wrong, under ideal circumstances the full strength team should be; Gayle, Powell, DM Bravo, Samuels, DJ Bravo, Pollard, Ramdin, Narine, Roach, Rampaul, Best/Holder. If they insist that they want ramdin to only play in test matches, then surely, Shane Dowrich is a much better choice than Devon Thomas. People could talk about Darren Sammy having all the heart in the world, but the reality is, he is a burden on the team, he needs to go. Sarwarn should have been left at home, as he is not in any kind of form, he has been looking horrible since the Caribbean T20. Thomas and charles, should have been left at home as well. We have too much up and coming bowling talent in the Wi to only play 2 frontline bowlers. at least one or two of Gabriel, Beaton, Johnson should have been on this tour. Our selectors are asleep at the wheel, and continue to run wi cricket off the road.

  • Dummy4 on February 9, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    Sammy is the main problem of the team..He is neither a genuine bowler nor a genuine batsman.. He is dragging the team down, when was the last time we saw anything substantial from Sammy anyway..Like mentioned he is captain by default.

  • Marcos on February 9, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Ok.....I have been a supporter of Sammy's work up to now. But I agree with Iline Richards - time for a change now. Gibson can carry on with the new discipline and work ethic since he seems to not be going to Warwickshire after all. Sammy is not effective enough as a bowler, no a no 6 batsman, so time to make way if we are to improve any further. People like Gabriel, D Johnson, Beaton need to be back in the team as well - gabriel and beaton were very quick and hostile on Slow Caribbean pitches in St Lucia in the CT20. If Sarwan is included again it must be on the back of form and against opposition he has a good history against-his issue has be psychological, so why bring him back against the team and venue he has the least success? Maybe Gibson is messing with his head as Gayle said.

  • Simon on February 9, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    This is probably the WI off season where people back home are watching football or whatever and the results mean little to them & it is often reflected as Oz was in the UK last winter. There is a very good WI team available and Best & Roach are in. I was most impressed with Ben Cutting. Smooth easy run-up, high delivery and looks capable of troubling the best.He looks like being on being on par with Bird plus being a better batter. I'm picking Bird to carve up the Poms in England.

  • Jack on February 9, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    I said it at the start that at least 20% of the WI players are not deserving of this tour - Charles, Thomas and Sarwan. This damages the morale of younger, deserving players and depresses WI fans. Walton for Charles and Thomas, Chanders for Sarwan and there is a place for Benn, Gabriel, Beaton, Barnwell, Johnson or Cottereal. Russel has receded over the past year and is a very lucky man to be on this tour. Once again I ask the selectors to use a simple formula: the 6 best batsmen and bowlers, a wicketkeeper and you still have two others. Stop picking a plethora of fielding all-rounders.

  • Dummy4 on February 9, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    Frankly, It is very difficult for WICB, the coach, captain or selectors to read, digest or accept any suggestions that comes from these write ups. Power, Pride, and 'know it all' is the problem.

    Before the 4th ODI, I suggest to rest Darren Bravo, Sammy, and knowing that Gayle is injured; to play Deonarine, Holder and continue with Sarwan until he finds form. The series was already lost. Dwayne could have led the team. But 'No', no one who has good idea, support the WI and has experience in the game makes sense to the WI regime. Now they may want to drop Sarwan for good. Sarwan was supposed to play out the series and try to cope with Gibson and get over that physcological effect he has over Gibson. Again, they set up Bishoo and dropped him. They say Chanders is too slow. These two men are match savers and match winners.

    I think the manager from Jamaica can make a difference.

    I do hope countries like Trinidad and Guyana can go Solo.

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