Australia 189 for 6 (Marsh 75, Finch 53, Walsh Jr 3-27) beat West Indies 185 for 6 (Simmons 72, Marsh 3-24) by four runs
A career-best night with both bat and ball from Mitchell Marsh ensured Australia got off the mark in the series as Mitchell Starc stymied Andre Russell at the death to clinch a four-run victory over West Indies.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Marsh propelled Australia to 189 for 6 with 75 off 44 balls, his third half-century in four innings this series. Defending the total, Marsh followed it up with 3 for 24 including a prized trio of scalps - Chris Gayle, Lendl Simmons and stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran - to stunt momentum in the West Indies chase.
Needing 11 off the final over and with Russell on strike, after Riley Meredith had been taken for four sixes by Fabian Allen in the 19th, Starc came around the stumps and bowled four leg stump yorkers that Russell could not get under to elevate and - with only the tail left in at the non-striker's end - resulted in turned down singles on each occasion. On the fifth ball, Russell flubbed a knee-high full toss well short of the rope at deep midwicket before a boundary on the final ball made a cosmetic adjustment to the final margin. It also meant Pooran's perfect record as captain to start the series was no more.
Marsh continues hot batting form
One of the few bright lights in this series for the visitors, Marsh has continued to impress in his audition for the No. 3 role ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year. Entering in the second over after the fall of Matthew Wade, Marsh lit up the scoreboard with a Vine-esque loop of inside out lofted drives over extra cover.
He brought up his third half-century of the series off just 24 balls with another such shot for six off Allen in the ninth over. Having dominated the early stages of his century partnership with Aaron Finch, who had been missed on 2 when an edge went between keeper and slip, rain disrupted Marsh's momentum when the players were taken off the field shortly after Marsh's half-century at the end of the ninth over. When play resumed, Finch seized control of the stand to clatter five boundaries in the space of nine balls across the 10th and 11th overs to bring up his own 34-ball half-century, ending a run of bad form in the first three matches of the series.
Hayden Walsh Jr sparks fightback with the ball
By the time the innings finished, the Hayden Walsh Jr's series-leading wicket tally stood at 11 after adding another three to bring them back into the game. He dismissed Finch with a googly to break the Marsh partnership at 114 after the Australia captain missed a heave across the line. Walsh Jr put himself on a hat-trick when he took a straightforward return catch next ball after Alex Carey played through too early on a leg stump half-volley to produce a leading edge back to the bowler.
He rounded off his haul a few overs later with perhaps his best work of the night. Finding some turn with the legbreak, Ashton Turner overstretched prodding forward and Pooran made up for a sloppy fumble on a straightforward stumping two nights earlier to complete a sharp dismissal on this occasion.
Marsh's bowling best thwarts West Indies victory charge
Simmons got the chase off to a fiery reply alongside Evin Lewis as the pair added 62 off the first 28 balls. Simmons got momentum moving in the second over off Meredith with a six and two fours through the leg side before Lewis had yet to face a ball. Lewis joined the party in the fourth over against Dan Christian by thumping two fours followed by two sixes over mid-on and backward square.
After Lewis fell to an ambitious shot backing away to Adam Zampa in the fifth, Simmons continued his supreme touch, shuffling across his stumps to flick a pair of boundaries over fine leg off the medium pace of Meredith in the seventh over. A single to start the eighth brought up a 28-ball half-century before Marsh struck for the first time, inducing a catch from Gayle to long-on.
Simmons was still humming but Andre Fletcher and Pooran stuttered after arriving in the middle overs. After Zampa bowled Fletcher in the 11th, Marsh returned for a double-strike in a magnificent 16th over in which he conceded just one run. He removed Pooran for 16, caught skying to long-off, before Simmons pulled the next ball flat to Moises Henriques for a sterling catch sliding along the rope at deep midwicket for 72.
Marsh's work with bat and ball on the night looked like it might go to waste at the end of the 19th when Allen smoked four sixes off the penultimate over bowled by Meredith. But Meredith struck back on the final ball getting Allen to edge a wide delivery behind leaving 11 for Russell to get off Starc in the last. In the end, vintage yorker accuracy from Starc allowed the visitors to prevail.
West Indies vs Australia
Australia tour of West Indies
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna