Australia v West Indies, 5th ODI, Melbourne

Australia seek 5-0 series win

The Preview by Brydon Coverdale

February 9, 2013

Comments: 31 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Aaron Finch plays one behind point, Australia v West Indies, 4th ODI, Sydney, February 8, 2013
Aaron Finch is yet to really grab his ODI opportunities this summer © Getty Images
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

RSS Feeds: Brydon Coverdale

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by VivGilchrist 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.

Posted by Chucker1818 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by   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...............

Posted by bobbo2 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

Posted by mar2000 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 .

Posted by   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.

Posted by   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>>

Posted by   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.

Posted by VivGilchrist 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.

Posted by Shaggy076 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.

Posted by noplay on (February 9, 2013, 21:16 GMT)

When WI cricket as in the doldrums we could still win a match against the great OZ team and SA, a series against India and England and SL. Now we are in the ascendancy we cannot do that. Can anyone tell me that we can beat any of those aforementioned teams in the next two years.A reminder that there was no T20 in those doldrum years. There are enough faulty assessments of this present WI team by the fan base to convince the WICB that they are doing the right thing by handing out caps on a whim. Now look what we are celebrating... shuffling the cards at the bottom of the pack to change ratings with NZ and Bangladesh

Posted by OzWally on (February 9, 2013, 20:16 GMT)

1. Watson 2. Warner 3. Hughes 4. Clarke 5. Bailey 6. Wade 7. Maxwell/Faulkner 8/10 Johnson/Starc/ Pattinson/Doherty 11. McKay - throw in Finch, Marsh, Voges, Cummins & Cutting. Plus Doolan, Mattinson & Burns with another year or two of experience. That's a pretty solid line-up that's shaping up for the WC.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2013, 20:15 GMT)

' Gayle has to pass fitness test'. Why is the WI selectors pushing for Gayle to be included in the team after he was convenientlly injured? To win, just to prevent the ignominy of losing 5-0. With Gayle being in the team, the result is still going to be 5 - 0. He is prone to left arm fast bowlers - just ask Dougie Bolinger. For the same the Sawan omitted was omitted, why should Gayle be selected? This WI team is not lacking quality players- Sawan who avails himself quite well in county cricket- which was the place where most of the players of the dominant WI team of the 70's/80's hone their skills, deserves to be in the team to recapture his form and his confidence. The team right now is lackng a captain, one who is a the student of the game, can think, make stragetic move and not one who was appointed by default.It's time for Sammy to go!

Posted by Reuelsean on (February 9, 2013, 20:04 GMT)

@Randy_Wilson, wether we are Ranked 7 or 8 is irrelevant, the fact of the matter is that we are still loosing series after series, so its hardly worth your sarcasm. Even the die hard fighting spirit that every one spoke about when gibson and Sammy took the helm was totally absent in this series, as it was in bangladesh, and don't be fooled, had it not been for Samuels's tremendous hitting in the world T20 finals, we would not have won the t20 title either. The Problems that Wi cricket has been having between the 1999-2007 period that u mentioned are still very much there, we still for the most part don't play like a team, one person performs, and the others don't. Sammy was never meant to be a long term solution, and gibson, while he is a excellent bowling coach, which was evident by his work with rampaul, shouldn't be WI head coach. So yeah i would say that we are exactly where we were back then. Sarcasm and all.

Posted by Riddymon on (February 9, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

Thank you Randy...make them know. Even when we had the "star team" with Gayle, Lara, Sarwan, Chanderpaul, Taylor, Edwards, etc....we were still losing..badly. Worse than we are now...there's been a definite turn around since Sammy became captain. Why don't we stop blaming Sammy and focus on the fact that the selectors are picking like 4 or 5 underperforming all-rounders to play at the same time, or the fact that they're alienating their top players...let's not mention the fact that guys Bishoo who was trumped last year to be their new up and coming spinner and emerging player of the year is nowhere to be about the fact that we never get a consistent performance from our top order. Let's look at THESE facts doesn't matter who's captaining or coaching...if the team is failing horribly everytime they go out to perform no matter who'sin the squad.

Posted by Randy_Wilson on (February 9, 2013, 18:20 GMT)

@Reuelsean Yep Gibson didnt desereved a Contract. and sammy is Unbalancing the WI team. West Indies Were Dominating WI cricket before the two came in we were going up. From been rank 5 to been rank 8 between 1999 -2007. Since Gibson and Sammy take over we went down from Rank 8 to Rank 7.

Posted by gnanzcupid on (February 9, 2013, 17:11 GMT)

this series is so boring. windies dont show up much fight back. i expected them to bounce back after being 0-2 but now they are already 0-4 down. is there another white wash on cards for the oz after whitewashing lanka in tests?

Posted by Reuelsean on (February 9, 2013, 14:19 GMT)

The WI team selection was all wrong. Darren Sammy needs to go, he has been throwing off the team's balance for way too long. Sarwarn is dreadfully out of form, and playing him in the final match wont make a difference, he shouldn't have been on tour to begin with, he has been looking horrible since the Caribbean T20, so why take him? its not like he has an impressive record in Aus anyway. Wi only played two front line bowlers, in a place like Aus, and Gibson get another three year contract, this after being beaten by Bangladesh, Eng, India, Aus. We only won against a very weak NZ team, who is being trounced by everyone right now. Sammy is a burden, time to cut him loose.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

this series has been a turkey shoot. Windies caught totally off guard!! I don't know if this is because the talent of Aussies or Weakness of Windies, but Aussie side with Watson. clarke, Warner and bailey looks very strong...

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (February 9, 2013, 13:02 GMT)

I think we will win tomorrow, Watto will get another big knock to prove that he is best suited to opening in all formats. Finch needs to show that he belongs and really tomorrow is his last chance. And finally Doherty gets a chance to play, not sure why we didn't play him in Sydney.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2013, 12:22 GMT)

Acording to this match preview Sarwan is not in the WI line up. Does that means WI is finish with him? The series was lost after the 3rd game. Players like Darren, and Sammy could have stand down along with Gayle (injured) and allow Deonarine, Holder and Sarwan to continue to play until he finds form. he is also fighting a physcological effect he has on Gibson so taking out completely is further demoralizzing him. Dwayne Bravo could have captained the team. Notsure if WI could chalk up this final game?

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (February 9, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

I think this series, togeather with the previous test series between WI & strrraaayyylia has settled the arguement over who is the 5th best team in cricket currently.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 9, 2013, 9:15 GMT)

I'm finding it a bit hard to get wound up about this game. .. WI to win comfortably, there you go. .. the windies just haven't coped with the Aus bowling at all. There have been very few periods in the entire series where you could say the WI batters were right on top. Very few. .. I reckon they must really want Finch in the ODI side, at least when Warners unavailable. Not too many players get as many chances as he has. He looks a touch out of his depth to be honest, even in the field. He must be way down on confidence by now .. this final match is the best chance he's ever likely to get to make a big score. it's time to show us why the selectors love him.

Posted by British_North_America on (February 9, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

I think Gayle should retire because he can only play in flat pitches made for T20 leagues.Proved in world t20 final.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (February 9, 2013, 7:26 GMT)

Michael i like your analysis and Yeah I'm warming to the idea of Watson opening in all formats. If he can stay injury free I might even become a full convert.I'm not totally sold because his technique can still be exposed (front foot plonk and play from there - his dismissal in Canberra was a classic - front foot hook shot) but he is valuable and he is better than Cowan.I'd like to se him used like Kallis as a bowler (see biltongbek's article) as a partnership breaker who only puts in 5-6 overs per innings. Ultimately for the ashes i think Watto will open with Warner with Hughes and Khawaja to follow and Clarke at 5. Who gets the the number 6 spot will be determined after the India series.

Posted by Mary_786 on (February 9, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

There's no argument Shane Watson is a far better proposition as a Test opener than batting down te list and perhaps another big knock at the MCG where he loves to bat will ensure that. Have a look at his scores in the different positions.

Opening - 126, 96, 93, 89, 88, 62, 57, 57, 56, 54, 53, 51, and 51.

Batting 3 - 120*, 97, 95, 65, 56, and 52.

Batting 4 - 83.

And batting 6 - 78.

This would be my lineup in India - Watson, Warner, Hughes, Clarke, Khawaja, Wade, Henriques, Lyon, Doherty, Pattison, Siddle, Starc(12th). Khawaja should come in at 4 or 5 depending on where we put Clarke(my suggestion at 4 as he is our best batsman) and obviously the bowlers can be moved around depending on conditions. I am getting excited with the focus now finally turning to the Indian series.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (February 9, 2013, 7:10 GMT)

A foregone conclusion that .... a 5-0 whitewash against the might of Aus !!Only hope now for Windies is quickly arrange a 3 game ODIs vs Eng .... Much more of a chance getting the better of Eng ... playing fellow minnows does afford that. I recon even a 3 -0 to WI can't be ruled out vs Eng..

Posted by   on (February 9, 2013, 6:11 GMT)

Official Playing XI for MCG

1.Watson 2. Finch 3. Hughes 4. Marsh 5. Voges 6. Haddin 7. Johnson 8. Faulkner 9. Ben Cutting 10. Mckay 11. Doherty

Posted by Mitty2 on (February 9, 2013, 5:53 GMT)

It's been a very good series for the Australian bowlers, with all contributing to the overall performance, whether in being economical or taking wickets. Their performance is made all the more better considering the batters go all the way down to 9.

Really hoping marsh is in the team, all though he should not be considered or even thought of for test selection, he could be a specialist one day player in which we need more of, so some of the test players can prioritise and focus purely on tests (siddle, Cowan etc). It also makes 'resting' the overworked test players easier (yay for rotation), even if to the detriment of the crowds

For this particular match, like many; really hoping that finch can fire. Don't really care about the result, (reflection of the state of ODI cricket?) just hoping that the likes of vogues, finch and marsh play well to add some needed depth and fight for spots.

Posted by greatshinwari on (February 9, 2013, 5:29 GMT)

I thnk philip hughes should be rested if George is avialble for the match..Shaun marsh must be in the side...Coulter-Nile should be given chance and johnson should be rested bkz he took just four wickets in the four games including a three-for in the last game...aussies must win 5-0....all the best aussies...

Posted by sohaibahmad on (February 9, 2013, 5:25 GMT)

gayle is now fit only for sub continent pitches, or maybe in carribean, bowlers with some skills can work him out quickly

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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