Ponting shines with 106 in series win
Australia 7 for 324 (Ponting 106, White 63) beat West Indies 8 for 274 (Deonarine 53, Pollard 62, Smith 58*) by 50 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Ricky Ponting sparkled with his 29th ODI century to lead Australia to a 50-run victory that sealed the series against West Indies. Ponting's side has out-played both touring teams this summer and the captain stepped up with an outstanding 106 as his side posted a ground-record 324.
Even if Chris Gayle had fired his outfit would have found the chase difficult and when he went for 34 off 27 balls the game was gone. Narsingh Deonarine's maiden half-century kept the tourists going for a while before Kieron Pollard showed some muscle with a personal best of 62 and Dwayne Smith chipped in an unbeaten 58. With every dot ball the task got harder and they finished at 8 for 274.
The result gave Australia a 3-0 lead and continued their unbeaten home campaign in Tests, ODIs and a Twenty20. Their thoughts now turn to Monday night's Allan Border Medal before the final match of this series in Melbourne on Friday.
Gayle has carried around an under-manned squad and he watched his band of medium pacers receive some severe punishment from Ponting. Australia batted first again after losing the toss and Ponting entered at 1 for 43 to take control.
In Sydney on Friday the same group restricted Australia to 225, but this pitch wasn't as spicy and Ponting made them pay for any lapses. He warmed up by lofting Pollard for four and next ball caressed him for a delightful straight six. Nikita Miller, the left-arm spinner, was lifted over the rope at long-on, but Ponting also showed his timing with deft touches, including a late cut to the boundary off Deonarine.
The hundred, his first in an ODI at this ground, came with a glance to short fine leg and the 20,088 fans stood to applaud. It was a healthy crowd for this series - although the ground was half full - but the spectators were entertained throughout the hosts' innings. Ponting's exhibition ended with a pull to short fine-leg off Smith that was taken low-down by Ravi Rampaul.
Cameron White was also worth watching during his 63, which included some brutal hitting of the ball and his body. White was feeling confident when he went down the pitch to Pollard on 35 but changed his mind and turned his head to a short delivery. The ball missed White's helmet and hit his jaw, leaving a puffy red mark. He was sent for an x-ray after being dismissed and cleared of major damage.
James Hopes' late 42 off 21 inflated the total with help from Michael Hussey (23) on a day to forget for the visiting bowlers. Smith returned 2 for 59 off eight overs, Rampaul had 1 for 68 off 10 and Pollard 1 for 45 from seven. Darren Sammy fared better with 2 for 44 while Miller did well at times.
West Indies' bowling, which started with Smith's five legside wides in the opening over, was often loose but their early catching was spectacular. Shane Watson had rushed to 26 when he lofted Smith and Wavell Hinds sprinted back from mid-on, diving for the take just inside the boundary. Tim Paine (24) also made a start but departed to a cut shot which ended up with a leaping Pollard at point.
The same spark couldn't be matched with the bat, although it really was an impossible task. Travis Dowlin (8) had already departed to a catch behind when Gayle pushed at Doug Bollinger and edged to Paine. It was the fifth time this summer that Bollinger (2 for 44) has dismissed Gayle in Tests and ODIs and the contest quickly became one-sided.
Batting was harder under lights than it had been during the day and the Australian bowlers were on target when it mattered. Lendl Simmons tried to heave Hopes for six but found Nathan Hauritz in the deep, while Hinds, playing his first international innings since 2006, crawled to 20 off 36 when run out by Hopes' direct hit at midwicket.
Deonarine was in good touch during his 53 but the pressure grew and he had to hit out, giving Hauritz a wicket when he found long on. Pollard walked in with the team needing eight an over and two runs a ball were required off the final ten overs.
Once Pollard got settled he planted a couple of big sixes but in the end the assignment was far too big. It's been like that for the touring teams for most of the summer.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo