Australia v West Indies, 5th ODI, Melbourne February 9, 2013

Australia seek 5-0 series win


Match facts

February 10, MCG
Start time 1420 (0320 GMT)

Big Picture

It is difficult to imagine a harder home contest to hype than this game, barring a top-end series in the middle of winter against Bangladesh. For starters, it's a dead rubber and the best a lacklustre West Indies can hope for is a consolation win to make the scoreline 4-1. Secondly, Australia's selectors and team management are already half focused on the fast-approaching Test tour of India, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell and others having already flown to Chennai (David Warner would have joined them but has stayed back a few days to nurse his broken thumb). Thirdly, the captain Michael Clarke is sidelined by a hamstring injury, and George Bailey might be as well. And fourth, for reasons out of cricket's control, all the sporting headlines in Australia this week remain centred on allegations of drugs and match fixing in other codes.

But for all that, a few interesting sub-plots remain. Can Australia's stand-in captain Shane Watson follow his 122 and 76 with another big score? Watson has made no secret of his desire to return to the Test team as an opener and his success at the top of the order in this series has already turned the spotlight a little in the direction of Ed Cowan, who has been a solid and consistent, but not spectacular Test performer. Can Aaron Finch finally grab his ODI chance or will this be a summer of wasted opportunities for him in the 50-over format? If Shaun Marsh, on standby for Bailey, returns for his first ODI in nearly 18 months how will he cope with the attention? And what will the Sydney century do for the confidence of Kieron Pollard, that rarity in the West Indies side, a man who can thrill as much as Chris Gayle?

Form guide

(Most recent first)
Australia WWWWW
West Indies LLLLL

In the spotlight

Anybody who has seen Aaron Finch's one-day and Twenty20 performances at domestic level over the past few seasons knows he is immensely talented. John Inverarity's selection panel knows it too. They want to groom him as a permanent member of the side with a long-term view to the 2015 World Cup. But at some point Finch needs to repay their belief. Since making his ODI debut against Sri Lanka last month he has scored 16, 4, 10, 11, 38 and 25. The lack of a big score is particularly notable in comparison to Phillip Hughes, who debuted alongside Finch last month and already has two centuries and an 86. Finch needs a score like that for his own confidence, and to retain the confidence of the selectors.

Sunil Narine caused a few problems for Australia's top order in the fourth game, beating Phillip Hughes in flight and accounting for Aaron Finch with variation in pace. He has taken only five wickets in four matches so far this series but his variations make him a constant threat, and those remaining Australians who are part of the Test squad, including Hughes and Watson, will be especially keen to score some more runs against spin before they fly to India.

Team news

Without Glenn Maxwell, who has flown to India to prepare for the Test series, Australia will consider bringing Xavier Doherty back in, while five fast men including the uncapped Nathan Coulter-Nile may be competing for four places. The most likely scenario is for Coulter-Nile to sit out and make his international debut in the T20 on Wednesday. Clarke is missing due to his hamstring problem and there is also an ongoing question mark surrounding George Bailey, who missed Friday's game with a hamstring niggle.

"George is certainly in the mix," Watson said on the eve of the match. "We hope that his hamstring will be able to continue to recover really well and be right for tomorrow. Shaun Marsh is on standby for him at this point in time. We've all got our fingers crossed for George because it's been amazing how well he's been batting and I know from experience that you want to be able to continue the momentum when you are batting well and not let injury give you a couple of weeks off and maybe take a little bit of that form away."

Australia (possible) 1 Shane Watson (capt), 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Phillip Hughes, 4 George Bailey / Shaun Marsh, 5 Adam Voges, 6 Brad Haddin (wk), 7 Mitchell Johnson, 8 James Faulkner, 9 Ben Cutting, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty.

Chris Gayle was left out on Friday after hurting his left side during the third ODI and he will again have a fitness test on Sunday before his availability is decided. Tino Best should retain his place after bowling well in Sydney, where he took the place of Kemar Roach.

West Indies (possible) 1 Kieron Powell, 2 Johnson Charles, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Dwayne Bravo, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Narsingh Deonarine, 7 Devon Thomas (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Andre Russell, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Tino Best.

Pitch and conditions

There were plenty of runs available in the one-day international at the MCG last month, when Australia scored 5 for 305 batting first against Sri Lanka. The forecast for Sunday in Melbourne is for a morning shower or two and a top of 23C.

Stats and trivia

  • The teams have met in 27 ODIs at the MCG and remarkably West Indies did not lose until the 14th meeting, but have now won only one of the past 14 contests
  • Dwayne Bravo needs two more wickets to reach 150 in ODIs. If he gets there in this game he will be the third-fastest West Indian to the milestone, behind Curtly Ambrose and Malcolm Marshall but ahead of Courtney Walsh.


"We want to win 5-0. We're almost there and then we'll focus on India."
Mitchell Johnson says Australia are not yet worrying about the upcoming Test series

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Basil on February 10, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    How's DRS? Looks like Charles let off was a square up for the Thomas dismissal earlier in the series.

  • Bill on February 10, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    I believe Finch should be given every opportunity. However consistent numbers of runs over 4 or 5 years cannot be disregarded.

    So it's gotta be time to expose Maxy Klinger. Age is no issue.. His fielding is sharp,great tream man and just consistently piles on the runs.. . Must be 1 of the highest scorers of total runs in the 1 day Domestic Comp.

    It's time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2013, 2:10 GMT

    The quality of cricket in the caribbean is not up to standard, its all about t20 cricket now a days. maybe that why there is no urgency in the player hearing about all these talent that is in the wait. base on what am seeing at the present if i was picking the players to represent the the WI in all format. TEST- Gayle, Powell, Bravo, Samuels, Chanderpaul, Deonarine/Bravo, c/w/Ramdin, Narine, Rampaul, Best, Roach. ODI- Gayle, Powell, Bravo,Samuels, Bravo/Sammy/Russell, Pollard, c/w/Ramdin, Narine, Rampaul, Best, Roach/Holder. T20- Gayle, Smith, Bravo, Samuels, Bravo, Pollard, w/Flecher/Charles, c/Sammy/Russell, Narine, Rampaul, Badree/Best. and maybe wi can win a series other than NZ/BANGLADESH...............

  • Dion on February 10, 2013, 1:53 GMT

    The team needs four proper bowlers and as Pollard showed the other day, If a batsman is willing to get his eye in, runs can be made.

    Saw NZ make bad starts and keep wickets in hand to beat SA twice recently. Just goes to show that you don't need to be 70 off the first 15 but wickets in hand is the key

  • Alex on February 10, 2013, 1:39 GMT

    Things started WRONG when the selectors named SARWAN and CHARLES in the squad . These 2 guys did nothing in the Caribbean T20 where the bowling is a walk in the park . Still we expect them to do well in Australia . WI need GAYLE to fire at the top in order to relax the others , because when Gayle goes early we all know the final result . Our bowlers are not getting it right , they are going for too many runs .300 plus is very hard to chase down with our batting line up .

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    Hope we can pull back one. Doesn't look likely though. I've always said that WI do not understand this format of the game. Our problems lie with the top order and not scoring enough singles. We have the batters for the last 15ovs., but we need wkts in hand. I was hoping that DM Bravo & Deonarine would have done it for us at the top. I can give the bowling & fielding a pass. We need more runs on the board. Best of luck WI. U surely need some.

  • Dummy4 on February 9, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    Irregardles of how much we complain nothing is going to happen.Just food for thought why didnt they bring Chanderpaul to play instead of Sarwan?In 4 matxhes West Indies still have not batted 50 overs.Thw hole administration need to go!Gibson apparently is calling the shots for team selection what a farce...They should take some leassons from the AUssie. You cant play the AUssies on their turf with one quick and one spin bowler... How ill we get change? If anuone knows let me know>>

  • Dummy4 on February 9, 2013, 23:05 GMT

    I hope Sarwan is not done just yet and that can recapture the magic and brilliance, as a formidable middle-order batsman, as we have come to appreciate over the years.

  • Basil on February 9, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    Powell, DJ Bravo, DM Bravo, Deonarine, Pollard, Thomas/Charles, Sammy, Narine, Holder, Best, Roach. Windies strengthen your bowling. Put pressure on the Aussie bats, and back your batsmen in. Batting down to 10 and weakening your bowling is not the answer. Should be a good game.

  • Graham on February 9, 2013, 21:17 GMT

    RedWHiteArmy who are the top four then? Since we havent lost a series against Sri Lanka in the last 3. Winning 2 of htem you can rule them out. We beat South Africa away the last time we played them - so another line. We beat Pakistan away - so rule them out. England last home and away have seen one massive win and an equal loss - so really England are level. We beat India last series as welll. So Im not sure who your top four are.

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