West Indies search for a consolation win
Friday, February 19, MCG
Start time 1425 (0325 GMT)
The Big Picture
The series is decided so there is little but pride to play for in this match. Australia want to finish the summer undefeated across all three formats, so they won't be easing up despite resting some players. West Indies would love to leave the country with some positives ahead of their home series against Zimbabwe, so they will be keen for a consolation victory after their best hope of the series, the Sydney match, was washed out.
It has been a long, tough season for West Indies in Australia. Three months ago they embarked on a Test tour in which they were competitive but didn't win a match and there hasn't been any one-day success either. Gayle is the only member of the squad to have been in Australia for the full three months, having played in the Big bash in between series. He has this ODI and two Twenty20s in Hobart and Sydney before he can head home, and even then there is barely any time to rest.
"It's been a long summer to be honest with you," Gayle said. "For me personally I've been here about three months and we have to leave here and go straight into another series against Zimbabwe. It's tough, I try to set my mind to it and just try not to be too negative and try to get the job done out there.
"It's tough on the players and I'm sure it's tough on individuals because at the end of the day no one wants to lose and to be losing it kind of gets frustrating. But at the same time it's our priority to try to get the job done and keep pushing the intensity and try to get a victory under our belt."
Form guide (most recent first)Australia WNWWW
West Indies LNLLL
Watch out for...In the allrounder stakes, Dwayne Smith has taken a backseat to Kieron Pollard for West Indies in this series. But Smith's 59 from 63 balls in Sunday's loss at the Gabba proved his batting value and he is the tourists' equal leading wicket taker with seven at 24.85. In the injury absence of Roach he was even given the new ball. If Smith and Pollard fire, it goes a long way to reducing the reliance on Gayle.
Steven Smith is a man with a big future ahead of him and having made his Twenty20 international debut, he is set to play his first one-day international at the age of 20. A legspinner and powerful hitter with two first-class hundreds to his name, Smith has a strong chance of making Australia's ICC World Twenty20 squad this year.
Team newsHaving won the series already, Australia have taken the opportunity to rest Michael Hussey and Nathan Hauritz, which will allow Smith to play as the main spinner. Shaun Marsh missed the previous two games with a back problem and although he trained lightly on Thursday, the selectors were expected to be cautious with him ahead of the Twenty20s and the tour of New Zealand. That could mean an opening role for Brad Haddin, who is back after a two-match rest.
Australia (possible) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Brad Haddin (wk), 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 Cameron White, 6 Adam Voges, 7 James Hopes, 8 Steven Smith, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 Doug Bollinger.
Kemar Roach missed the previous two games with a sore left ankle but is fit again and will add much-needed venom to the West Indies attack. It has been a disappointing series - and in fact a lean 12 months at international level - for Lendl Simmons, who has eaten up a lot of deliveries for few runs. West Indies might be tempted to go instead for Brendan Nash, who has not played so far in the limited-overs portion of the trip.
West Indies (possible) 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Travis Dowlin, 3 Narsingh Deonarine, 4 Wavell Hinds, 5 Brendan Nash, 6 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 7 Kieron Pollard, 8 Dwayne Smith, 9 Nikita Miller, 10 Ravi Rampaul, 11 Kemar Roach.
Pitch and conditionsThe MCG pitch when the teams met for the first ODI didn't have the raw speed it produced two days earlier for the Pakistan Twenty20 match. It wasn't an easy surface to bat on and Australia's 256 was more than adequate for a big win. The forecast for Friday in Melbourne is sunny and 29C.
Stats and trivia
- The Allan Border Medal night feels like an end-of-season party and Australia have found it hard to get back on task in previous years. In each of the past four seasons, the Australians have lost the next game they played after the Allan Border Medal ceremony
- Not since 2000-01 have Australia gone through a home summer undefeated in ODIs; they have a chance to achieve that feat on Friday
- It has been a series of low individual scores - Ricky Ponting's 106 and Cameron White's 63 from Sunday's game are the two highest innings of the series
Quotes"They're on a high, so we're up against it. But at the same time we're going to be positive and try to get a win out there."
"It's been pretty exciting for me to be called up to this side, the boys have been really accepting. I'm sure that we're going to want to finish the summer on a high with another win."
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.