Australia stage impressive recovery
Australia 8 for 269 (Katich 76, Collins 5-43) beat West Indies 196 (Chanderpaul 55, Lee 4-38) by 73 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
Pedro Collins gave Australia a huge scare before they replied with a frightening performance to secure an impressive come-from-behind victory. The Aussies rose from a debilitating 4 for 38 through Simon Katich and an Australian-record ninth-wicket partnership between Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee, who then led a strangulating bowling effort with four wickets.
After letting Australia escape when they fielded, West Indies showed few signs of urgency in their chase of 269, leaving too much for a middle order containing Brian Lara at No. 5. As Lara skyed Lee, his side's final hope of leapfrogging Pakistan on the tri-series table vanished, and he must have wondered how things had turned round so quickly (6 for 153).
It was a disappointing end to a day that began so well for West Indies. A second dose of Collins proved too much for a sick Australian top order as they melted in heat hovering around 40 degrees Celsius. Collins, who took 3 for 8 when Australia were 5 for 43 at Brisbane, found his swinging groove again with a devastating four-wicket opening spell and a career-best performance that toppled an ill-disciplined and out-of-form line-up.
Lee countered for Australia by being on a hat-trick in his second over after dismissing both openers with assistance from Brad Haddin. Wavell Hinds nicked his first delivery, and Lee struck again when he angled a ball down the leg side that flicked Chris Gayle's glove. Haddin snapped up a stunning, one-handed diving catch (2 for 3). Shivnarine Chanderpaul padded up to the next delivery, but survived the loud appeal.
Australia had little problem maintaining their scoring despite wickets initially blowing like plastic beer cups. Katich, the stand-in batsman whose 76 was his first one-day half-century, provided Australia with a valuable tonic from No. 6 in reply to Collins, who was regularly unplayable and finished with 5 for 43.
A fantastic rearguard was responsible for the total, which would have been much worse if Lee and Gillespie had not stepped in with a lively 73-run stand. Lee was unbeaten on 38 and Gillespie 44 as they clipped and chipped into the West Indies, including taking 15 from the final over.
The Australia Day public holiday turned from a lazy stroll into a batsman's afternoon to forget by the ninth over, when Australia were in disarray at 4 for 38. Suddenly Andrew Symonds, a player with five ducks and a 20 in his past six innings, and Katich were asked to haul their side from disaster.
Katich proved capable but Symonds, looking like an unsure tap dancer as his feet started slowly, was only briefly entertaining in making 31. Symonds shared a 47-run stand with Katich and appeared comfortable again until he edged Hinds through to Browne (5 for 85).
Playing his second one-day international of the season, Katich calmly scored at a run a ball in a mature innings that eased the nerves. With Haddin, Katich added 82 and, despite losing five wickets, Australia were still jetting towards a comfortable total. Then Dwayne Bravo deceived Haddin and Brad Hogg, while Katich was hit by a severe, late Collins inswinger that dented the charge until Lee and Gillespie arrived (8 for 196).
Collins's fifth wicket was his most impressive, but his early collection also glittered. Clarke lashed 12 from his first over before Collins added to Matthew Hayden's wretched season with his first strike. Trying to hit out of his struggles, Hayden aimed a slog through midwicket and clipped an under-edge to Browne. Two balls later Collins collected Ricky Ponting's leading edge (2 for 24).
The next target was Clarke, and Collins knocked him over when he left a gap between bat and pad for a very useful inswinger. Darren Lehmann walked out to three slips and a bouncer, and stepped off following a pull similar to Hayden's (4 for 38). But the early disruption to the holiday festivities was overcome, and it soon became the national team's night. They even finished with a bonus point.
Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo.