West Indies v Australia, 3rd ODI, St Vincent March 20, 2012

Dramatic last over run-out leaves match tied


Australia 220 (M Hussey 67, Bailey 59, Narine 3-32) tied with West Indies 220 (Charles 45, Watson 3-30)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Any lingering thoughts of a Caribbean holiday were swept decisively away from Australia by a thrilling and courageous West Indies chase to force a dramatic tie at a heaving Arnos Vale Ground. Tuesday had been declared a public holiday in St Vincent and a sold-out crowd was kept on its feet throughout as the two sides finished locked on 220 apiece on a pitch almost as lively for spin bowling as for dancing at the boundary's edge.

The West Indies needed only one run from the final three deliveries to be bowled by Brett Lee, but a mix-up between the captain Darren Sammy and the last man Kemar Roach saw both stranded at the striker's end as Lee broke the stumps at his. However, the hosts' fight to level the scores having been mired as deeply as 78 for 5 will provide plenty of belief for Sammy's men, while also showing Australia's players that they cannot afford to misstep quite so badly as they have done at times in the three matches so far.

This time the fault lay with the batsmen, who squandered the best of the conditions and failed completely to cope with the crafty spin of Sunil Narine. But there was also a cautionary note for the stand-in captain Shane Watson, who spoiled an otherwise admirable bowling stint with a no-ball that reprieved Andre Russell at a critical time. Watson fumed over the episode and may need to calm himself more rapidly on future captaincy assignments, not least on this tour.

Having built a sound platform to chase the 221 required at 52 for 1, the hosts lost four wickets for 26 as Xavier Doherty and Watson cut through the batting with a combination of spin, changes of pace and alert field placement. However a series of doughty contributions from Johnson Charles, Kieron Pollard, Russell and Carlton Baugh brought the West Indies to the brink, and Sammy would have taken his side home without a moment of running impulse from Roach.

In front of a teeming Kingstown gathering that caused a long trail of morning traffic to the ground, the Australians had been briefly delighted to find a pitch offering more pace than had been found in either of the first two fixtures here. However, they lost their previous enthusiasm when the offspinner Narine used it, along with the sharp spin that had been on offer all week, to cause considerable torment.

George Bailey, promoted to No. 4, and Michael Hussey provided some measure of stability to the innings, from an uncertain 58 for 3, but neither batsman could quite attain command of the bowling. Hussey's dismissal signalled another flurry of wickets, this time the giddy loss of five for six runs. Marlon Samuels and Roach both contributed with clever spells, but it was Narine's deception of the touring batsmen that was most complete, their muddle exemplified by two run-outs in the slipstream of Narine overs.

When West Indies chased, Charles and Kieran Powell enjoyed a more fruitful stand than their one-ball effort in the second ODI, and Watson had to introduce Doherty's spin in the seventh over as he sought a wicket. Powell hammered Doherty over the wide long-on rope, but next ball the spinner took revenge by running a delivery across the opener to draw a clear stumping for Matthew Wade.

Watson used a slower ball to tunnel through Samuels' defence, and in the same over Darren Bravo was confounded by a delivery that disturbed the surface and sent his drive straight to Bailey at short cover. A similar dismissal accounted for Charles, though he could have fewer queries about how the ball had reached him off the pitch, and Doherty used another straighter variation to cramp Dwayne Bravo's attempt to cut and coax an edge into Wade's gloves.

Pollard had seen the West Indies home on Sunday, but had a far sterner task ahead of him this time. For a while he delighted team-mates and spectators, sending one mighty swipe at Lee clean out of the ground. To rid him of this threat, Watson called on Nathan Lyon, Pollard's sometime compatriot in Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition.

As he has done before, Lyon was not afraid to sacrifice a six in search of a wicket: Pollard cleared Doherty at long-on once, but found him when attempting to repeat the stroke two balls later. Russell maintained the fight in the company of Baugh, smiting a rival to Pollard's earlier six when he crashed Clint McKay down the ground and beyond it.

The required rate crept up gradually, aided by Watson's thrift, and when Russell was bowled attempting an impatient heave the game appeared up. However replays showed that Watson had overstepped, and Russell's rearguard went on. As if to frustrate Watson further, Russell was also to be bowled by the resulting free-hit.

As he and Doherty had almost exhausted their overs, Watson called on McKay to probe for the clinching wickets. As the crowd clung to rum-fuelled visions of victory, he seemed to do just that: first teasing an edge out of Russell that Wade dived to claim, then prompting Baugh to send an attempted flick skyward for Daniel Christian to pouch.

Not willing to give up, Narine hit out boldly to reduce the requirement, and Sammy showed the sort of composure he is beginning to make a habit of. However Roach ran on the third-last ball as though it was the last, and Australia salvaged something.

Having won the toss, Watson had expected a similar surface to those previously encountered in Kingstown, but noted more evidence of dryness. In the first few overs he and David Warner timed the ball more successfully than at any stage of the first two games, and it was with the score a promising 33 for 0 that Sammy called on Narine. His first over saw the ball popping and spinning far more excitedly than the batsmen were expecting, and Watson's response in the next over was to chase a tight single that became fatal when Russell threw the stumps down.

The wicketkeeper Wade, back to No. 3 in the shuffle that had Peter Forrest dropped to make room for Lyon's spin, struggled mightily in his brief time against Narine, also narrowly avoiding a run-out. Shuffling too far across his crease, it was no great surprise when Narine spun a delivery around Wade's pads to bowl him for a fretful 2 from 11 balls. Narine's analysis told a tale of bewitchment: 5-1-5-1.

Bailey and Hussey were vigilant as they built a significant union, tallying 112 before they were separated by Samuels. His role in the dismissal was more technical than practical, a short ball pulled venomously by Bailey - he had just struck a compelling straight six - straight into the hands of Bravo behind square leg. Bailey cursed his exit, just at the moment when it seemed Australia had wrested the advantage, and they would prove to be prescient oaths.

Michael Hussey misread Samuels' length and turn to be stumped by a distance. Next over David Hussey was deceived completely by Roach's perfectly pitched slower ball and bowled, and after a first-up wide Brett Lee fell to the same variation, this time dragging a shorter offering onto his stumps. The innings had lost its way; it so very nearly cost the match.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mukesh on March 22, 2012, 20:18 GMT

    and where is doug bollinger ? he should be playing if he is fit , and wade should open with warner and watson come at no.3

  • mukesh on March 22, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    This Australian team is not as bad as everyone here makes it to be , if u look at their performance post world cup they have NEVER LOST A SERIES , only disappointment was drawn series against NZ , yes the batting looks a bit shaky but that's due the inexperience of the squad , without Clarke too much responsibility on hussey at the moment , bring in khawaja , he is the future no.3 man for aussies

  • Roo on March 22, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    @Wozza-CY... Agree - this is the worst summer for batting order selection that I can ever remember & that blame falls squarely onto the captains as it is their job to select the order... M Huss & Bailey need to be at no.3/4... Watson either open or no.6 but with a summer ODI batting average @22 he is lucky to be in the team... Watson needs to bowl out the last 8-10 overs with McKay, Christian & Doherty as options... Definitely missing Johnson & Bollinger in the ODI's... Watsons use of the bowlers seems re-active rather than pro-active which is a poor strategy in the shorter forms of cricket...

  • Andrew on March 22, 2012, 2:36 GMT

    Snick_To_Backward_Point - nice try, but Bangladesh are actually beating sides ranked above them in ODIs - unlike your mob. @RandyOz - try running a stats filter on ODIs since either the start of this year or last year, Lee is NOT past his use by date - past his prime maybe! Still worth a spot.

  • Warrick on March 22, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    @fitzy99- agreed with your comments, especially about out death bowling. The frustrating thing is it's been happening all summer & prior to that as well. What I don't get is that McKay, Watson & at times Christian all do well with variations & change of pace (like the rest of the world's bowlers) yet we keep throwing it to Lee to bowl 140kph length balls!! @Busie1979- agree with Mussey at 3 & thought the same through the tests. Most young fellas get a chance to cut their teeth down the order like Boon & Ponting. Yet we keep putting the likes of Khwaja & Marsh there now & backpedalling when it doesn't work.

  • Ahmad on March 21, 2012, 22:48 GMT

    I hope st Lucia provide uss with a Win. If we win the First Match, I will feel very happy at least we cant Lose the Series. Drawing the Series will feel Great. People may feel West Indies should of won the last game,but My hope for the last game was a Defeat for West Indies and a Tie, feels Great, because been 5 down and in the 70th Who would expect We could of got past 200 runs? This type of fight I havet seen in a Long time. Even When we had our Best 11 WITHOUT Sammy, they couldnt recover like that. Sammy IS NOT talented we all know that, but imaging if We had Tino Best in his Position could we have pull off a tie? people may argue bout we may not have even reach tino Best, if our best 11 was Playing. but how many time we lost without Sammy.

  • Randolph on March 21, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    @fitzy99 is spot on. Lee is well past his use by date.

  • Earl on March 21, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    I am getting fed up with people who want to take sides and not knowing what they are talking about.Just saying what suits them. Who was the last captain of W.I to win a series against a worthy team? We are glad that the dedicated Sammy is playing for W.I...But is that enough to move us to the next level?...which is a winning team.I hope so.I am spending a lot of money to travel and watch and cheer for this team..no matter who is playing,but would like to see our best team on the field at all times.I traveled to Grenada to watch Bangladesh beat us.That was not the players fault..they tried.WICB is to blame for all of this!!!Our players when they have the opportunity to win games we go backwards by selecting inferior teams.No chance of getting the winning feeling.

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    well played huss.......u r certainly the best in those type of conditions

  • manoj on March 21, 2012, 17:44 GMT

    I think the biggest problem facing the Windies is mental; it has very little to do with talent especially bowling-wise. How else does one explain the inability to get one measly run from 3 deliveries? They have to develop a winning mindset but that's a catch-22 since to have a winning mindset you have to have wins and vice versa. It's almost as though when they are on the brink of victory they are more worried about screwing up than taking control and finishing the job. The important thing is to keep trying and not put undue pressure on themselves and I'm sure eventually the wins will come and along with that a winning attitude.

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