Australia v West Indies, 3rd ODI, Sydney February 12, 2010

Rain ruins West Indies' chance

Match abandoned West Indies 0 for 6 v Australia 225 (Clarke 46, Hussey 44, Rampaul 4-61)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

West Indies had their best performance of the series cut short by the weather as they were allowed six balls in their chase before the third ODI was washed out. The desperate tourists, who now have to win the final two matches to level the five-game contest, were hopeful of victory after Ravi Rampaul's 4 for 61 restricted Australia to 225.

They had scored six runs when the rain came for a two-hour delay and it refused to leave for long enough to ensure a result. Play resumed at 9.20pm local time with West Indies facing a target of 151 off 24 overs, but the weather closed in again after one delivery. The sides will head to Brisbane for the fourth fixture on Sunday, when Australia will attempt to wrap up the series and Chris Gayle's men will try to hold on.

Gayle gambled by bowling first at the SCG after losing Kemar Roach to injury, but his back-up men stood up in hot and humid conditions at the start and windy ones towards the end of the innings. Australia experienced a testing opening to be 2 for 30 and the batsmen were unable to find fluency while West Indies' medium pacers enjoyed a pitch offering seam and some inconsistent bounce.

Rampaul led the attack well in the absence of Roach - he didn't deserve a late thrashing from Ryan Harris - while Dwayne Smith, the stand-in opener, had 3 for 45 as they regularly threatened the locals. Australia relied on late contributions from Michael Hussey, who struck 44 off 53, and Harris (21 off nine) as they built on Michael Clarke's 46 to post what should have been a challenging total.

Hussey, who came in just before a 20-minute rain break, worked hard while James Hopes chipped in with a valuable 30 before Harris arrived with some grunt. He hit Rampaul for three fours and a six in the 50th over before finding Kieron Pollard at long on as Australia were dismissed with a ball to go.

Australia had already lost four wickets in the Powerplay, which was taken in the 45th over, starting when Smith bowled Hussey. Rampaul watched Hopes chip him to midwicket and then got one through Nathan Hauritz, while Mitchell Johnson was taken by a clever catch by Pollard off Smith.

With Roach missing, Smith opened with gentle outswingers that caused trouble while Rampaul was also potent. Darren Sammy, who replaced Roach in the XI, did his job with 2 for 46 and gained the crucial dismissals of Clarke and Ricky Ponting (22), who inside-edged on to his stumps aiming a drive.

Clarke worked the ball around, running 34 singles and managing only one four, but was unable to force the big shots and grew frustrated into a charge at Sammy. The swipe to the legside ended in a catch behind and he left with the score at a wobbly 5 for 144.

Nikita Miller, the left-arm spinner, was tidy in giving up three-and-a-half runs an over while Pollard (1 for 26) was also tight and gained Cameron White's edge on 17. The only real problem for the bowlers was their generosity in giving away 12 wides over the first half of the innings. At the time Australia needed all the extra runs.

Australia made four changes and employed a new opening combination with Tim Paine and Adam Voges coming in for the rested Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh, who pulled out with a back injury shortly before the toss. Rampaul's inswinger bowled Paine on 16 as he tried to hit to leg and in the next over Smith's full toss trapped Voges (8) attempting a similar shot. West Indies continued to cause problems and while chasing under lights would have been tough, they would have loved an opportunity to inflict Australia's first defeat of the season.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo