West Indies v Australia, 5th ODI, St Lucia

Sammy heroics in vain as Australia draw series

The Report by Brydon Coverdale

March 25, 2012

Comments: 101 | Text size: A | A

Australia 281 for 9 (Warner 69, Watson 66, Forrest 53, Russell 4-61, Roach 3-53) beat West Indies 251 (Sammy 84, Lee 3-42) by 30 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Brett Lee celebrates after removing Marlon Samuels, West Indies v Australia, 5th ODI, Gros Islet, March 25, 2012
Brett Lee's early strikes set Australia on the winning path © Associated Press
Enlarge

Somehow, a 2-2 draw seemed a fitting result for a series that was so closely fought. That was the outcome after Australia's best all-round performance of the tour so far finished in a 30-run win, although the West Indies captain Darren Sammy did his best to carry the hosts home on his shoulders with a powerful 84 that gave his team unexpected hope. But in the end, Australia had more performers: half-centuries to David Warner, Shane Watson and Peter Forrest set up a big total of 281 for 9 and Brett Lee led a disciplined bowling display to wrap up the victory.

It left the series with a sense of symmetry: it began with an Australian win, then a West Indian victory, then a tie, then a West Indies win and ended as it started, with an Australian victory. It must also have left both teams unsatisfied, Australia at their inability to gel through the middle of the series and beat the No.8-ranked ODI side, and West Indies at missing a rare opportunity to secure a series win over Australia.

Sammy nearly got them there, though. He and Andre Russell came together at 118 for 7 but they didn't give up, and Sammy blasted sixes here, there and everywhere on his way to a 20-ball half-century, equalling his own West Indian record. Even after the departure of Russell, who was lbw on review to Xavier Doherty for 41, Sammy kept the West Indian dream alive until he was the last man out, caught at deep midwicket with 31 still needed from 17 balls.

Perhaps Sammy made a tactical error by sending Australia in, considering the strong West Indian victory batting first at the same venue two days ago. His bowlers were unable to pick up cheap top-order wickets and the hosts were always on the back foot, right from the first few boundaries struck by Warner and Watson in their 118-run partnership, their first century opening stand together.

The West Indies bowlers did what they could and prevented Australia from the 300-plus score that at one stage looked inevitable, but it was eight years since West Indies had chased down such a high target in an ODI and their task looked as tall as the Pitons that dominate St Lucia's landscape. When Lee struck in each of his first two overs, local shoulders slumped even more.

Smart stats

  • West Indies drew their first bilateral series against Australia in 13 years. In 1999, they had tied the home series 3-3. However, their last series win was in 1995, when they went on to take the series 4-1.
  • The top three Australian batsmen scored half-centuries. It is the seventh time overall and the first time against West Indies that the top three Australian batsmen have made fifty-plus scores.
  • The 118-run stand between David Warner and Shane Watson is the fifth-highest opening stand for Australia against West Indies. It is also Australia's second-highest opening stand in ODIs played in West Indies.
  • The 101-run stand between Darren Sammy and Andre Russell is the highest eighth-wicket stand for West Indies in ODIs. The run-rate during the partnership (10.27) is the fourth-highest ever for a century stand for West Indies. It is also the highest ever run-rate for a century stand in ODIs against Australia.
  • Sammy's strike rate of 168.00 during his 84 off 50 balls is the highest for a fifty-plus score by a West Indian batsman in ODIs against Australia.

The St Lucian opener Johnson Charles fell for a fifth-ball duck when he top-edged an attempted pull and was caught and bowled by Lee, and West Indies were 5 for 2 when Marlon Samuels gloved behind in Lee's next over. The run-rate became almost non-existent as Adrian Barath and Darren Bravo tried to steady, but on 3 from 21 balls, Bravo edged behind off Clint McKay.

The wickets kept falling. Dwayne Bravo drove Watson to cover for 19 and Barath top-edged an attempted slog-sweep off Doherty for 42. That left a mountain of work for Kieron Pollard, who after a while lost his partner Carlton Baugh (13) to a catch at fine-leg that almost cost Australia their wicketkeeper, as Matthew Wade ran back and collided heavily with the catcher Ben Hilfenhaus.

Wade appeared to be in severe pain but slowly righted himself and resumed his place behind the stumps. Pollard gave the fans something to cheer with a couple of huge sixes before he was caught in the deep for 33, which brought Sammy and Russell together.

In the end, Australia just had too many runs. Their score was set up by Warner and Watson, who gave Australia comfortably their best start of the series and left Sammy wondering about the wisdom of his decision at the toss.

Warner's 61-ball innings of 69 was easily his most fluent of the tour and the highlight was a long, flat six that he had pulled off Dwayne Bravo, and he was also strong through the off side when the bowlers dropped short. He was the quicker scorer in the partnership but Australia's tempo slowed when he tried to slog sweep Sunil Narine but misjudged the flight and saw a toe-edge lob to backward point.

Watson showed his intent early by cutting Kemar Roach for six and he was also strong through the leg side. He had an lbw decision against him on 27 overturned on review and went on to bring up his half-century from 65 balls. On 66, Watson steered a catch to third man off Russell but he had given Australia a very solid platform.

Either side of a rain delay, Forrest was steady and brought up his first half-century of the tour. His highlight was a cracking cover-drive perfectly placed to find the boundary off Marlon Samuels, who bowled as much medium-pace as offspin, his numerous quicker balls clocking almost 120kph.

Despite Forrest's runs he never looked like demolishing the West Indies attack and on 53 from 68 balls, he pulled Russell to midwicket. Russell was outstanding in the field and collected 4 for 61, and even found himself on a hat-trick after David Hussey gloved behind the ball after Forrest fell. The hat-trick didn't eventuate, but he at least halted Australia's progress.

Wade and Michael Hussey chipped in with some late boundaries but Roach (3 for 53) grabbed two wickets in the last over to prevent Australia getting any closer to 300. In the end, it didn't matter. They had enough. And a tightly-contested series got the most appropriate result.

Innings Dot balls 4s 6s PP1 PP2 PP3 Last 10 overs NB/Wides
Australia 148 25 8 51/0 36/1 30/2 65/5 0/7
West Indies 169 26 4 27/2 17/1 60/0 40/3 0/6

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

RSS Feeds: Brydon Coverdale

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by RandyOZ on (March 28, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

Wouldn't every team on Earth kill for Watson in their team!

Posted by gunnerr4life on (March 27, 2012, 15:45 GMT)

I'm extremely glad for the windies that they are improving .. The best part is that the team selection is much better and i heard that dwayne smith has been recalled to the squad .. which is a good sign . Specially , hats off to Sammy who has transformed into a genuine all-rounder after taking so much criticism earlier . Best of luck from a fan in pak !

Posted by Arsalan_RC on (March 27, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

*** He and Andre Russell came together at 118 for 7 but they didn't give up, and Sammy blasted sixes here, there and everywhere on his way to a 20-ball half-century, equalling his own West Indian record. Even after the departure of Russell, who was lbw on review to Xavier Doherty for 41***

He made half a century or 41?

Posted by RaiseTheBar on (March 27, 2012, 4:44 GMT)

What if it rained cats and dogs at Beausejour just like it did all over St. Lucia? Would the decision to bat first been as bad a decision if D/L was needed? Could it be that Aussies pushed RR early given the potential for rain? Hands down WI top order lost the series. Here's a game-changer for WI. Reverse the batting order and employ a hybrid T20/20/10over format. Let the bottom 5 open the batting. For the 1st 20 overs they should all be out, BUT the score would be in the region of 200! Give the now starting 5 the last 30 overs. From overs 20-40 they'd score approx. 75-100 and then spray from overs 40-50 adding an additional 50-75 runs. WI will average 300-400 runs per 50overs! This approach maximizes the strength of our personnel. The accomplished T20 specialist hitters pushing the rate early will demoralize any bowling attack, engage the crowd from the start, and motivate the team. Think about it, WI will now be a winning team and not one that always seeks moral victories.

Posted by   on (March 27, 2012, 1:42 GMT)

Wow, the West Indies definitely played magnificently. As an Aussie, I was hoping that Sammy could have pulled off the ultimate heroics. I don't see the point of blaming Sammy. If anything, his own batting proved that perhaps the guys further up the order may have underperformed. A tied series? That's a big moral win for WI.

Posted by Meety on (March 27, 2012, 0:49 GMT)

@brittop - nice try, McKay maybe a journeyman, but atm, he is statistically about the best ODI bowler in the world with a s/rate way below 30 at about 27. Name ANY England bowler who has a S/Rate under 30? That's right you can't because it has NEVER happenned - LOL! BTW - Doherty may not be a spinner in your eyes, but he has taken more ODI scalps since Jan 2011 than ANY of your spinners - LOL!

Posted by MisterObvious on (March 26, 2012, 23:22 GMT)

If only Brett Lee had woken up up on the morning of the 3rd ODI with acute arthritis in one hand then he might not've caught the throw-in & broke the stumps to run out Roach at the end of the game, causing a tie. If only Sammy had batted first after he won the toss at the 5th ODI. If only Gayle had been in the team. If only Charles, Bravo, Barath hadn't played dumb shots & given away their wickets. If only the Aus bowlers who got them out had tripped over untied laces or loose turf on the way in to deliver those deliveries. If only someone, say, Darren Bravo, had made 31 more runs or if Narine had one more over to bowl to Wade who instead belted 24 runs off someone else's over in the death. If only, if only . . . then the Windies would have won as they so richly deserved. No, I don't do the "if only" analysis after the fact, where the presence or absence of a random unforeseen event makes all the difference. I just watch cricket & enjoy it for what it is, unpredictable & fun. A game.

Posted by Reuelsean on (March 26, 2012, 21:03 GMT)

While i most of all agree that Sammy should have batted first, you really can't blame him for the loss. The top order batted horribly, Charles, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, all played horrible shots at the top of the order, and Samuels continued his horrible form. Barath played a bad shot as well, but u really can't blame him, under the circumstances, he did at least contribute 42 and was trying to push the tempo. Had the wi top order done what it was supposed too, instead of giving away their wickets to Brett Lee, then WI would have won this match. You can't Blame Darren Sammy at all.

Posted by Reuelsean on (March 26, 2012, 20:44 GMT)

While i most of all agree that Sammy should have batted first, you really can't blame him for the loss. The top order batted horribly, Charles, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, all played horrible shots at the top of the order, and Samuels continued his horrible form. Barath played a bad shot as well, but u really can't blame him, under the circumstances, he did at least contribute 42 and was trying to push the tempo. Had the wi top order done what it was supposed too, instead of giving away their wickets to Brett Lee, then WI would have won this match. You can't Blame Darren Sammy at all.

Posted by brittop on (March 26, 2012, 20:42 GMT)

Still playing a journeyman like McKay and still believing Doherty's a spinner.

Comments have now been closed for this article

TopTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
Tour Results
West Indies v Australia at Roseau - Apr 23-27, 2012
Australia won by 75 runs
West Indies v Australia at Port of Spain - Apr 15-19, 2012
Match drawn
West Indies v Australia at Bridgetown - Apr 7-11, 2012
Australia won by 3 wickets
WICB Pres XI v Australians at Cave Hill - Apr 2-4, 2012
Australians won by 8 wickets
West Indies v Australia at Bridgetown - Mar 30, 2012
West Indies won by 14 runs
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days