Australia 286 for 5 (Gilchrist 84, Clarke 54*) beat West Indies 219 (Gayle 84) by 67 runs
The Australian juggernaut rumbled on with a convincing 67-run victory over West Indies in the first of the weekend's double-header in Trinidad. It was Australia's 21st consecutive win, meant that they took the best-of-seven series 4-0 with three to play, and was never in doubt once they posted a formidable total. On a wicket which kept slow and low, Australia powered to 286 for 5 and then bowled out West Indies for 219 in 45.3 overs, underlining the gulf in experience and performance between the two sides.
West Indies, pinned down by Australia's seamers early on, were always well behind the asking rate and self-destructed with three suicidal run outs at the end as they chased a lost cause.
Man-of-the-match Adam Gilchrist top scored with 84 in Australia's innings with Michael Clarke punishing the flagging West Indian fielding. Gilchrist, refreshed after sitting out last Wednesday's victory, hammered nine fours and a six in his 103-ball knock while 22-year-old Clarke followed his unbeaten 75 in St Lucia Clarke with 55 off 40 balls in the final overs. Clarke rode his luck - he was bowled off a Corey Collymore no-ball and was reprieved on 47 when Ricardo Powell who dropped a simple catch at deep midwicket.
All Australia's top-order batsmen made contributions. Matthew Hayden smacked 44 off 61 balls, Ricky Ponting hit 38 off 47, Andrew Symonds 24 off 28 and Michael Bevan was out on the final ball of the innings, holing out to Brian Lara in the deep off Vasbert Drakes for 21 off 22 deliveries.
The dire West Indies fielding also contributed. They spilled four catches, crucially dropping Gilchrist twice, and their groundfielding was clumsy throughout. The West Indian bowlers lacked penetration and they have yet to dismiss the Australians in any of the one-dayers to date.
"It was a very good win today, the boys batted very sensibly, our openers got us off to a great start and gave us a platform to launch from and Clarkey did well again," Ponting said. "We decided to keep as many wickets in hand for the end as we could and give ourselves a really good platform and that's the way it worked out. We decided to open the bowling with Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie today, a bit of extra pace, and it seemed to work for us and when Glenn McGrath came on in the middle, he kept things tight and got their run-rate up... the West Indies were under pressure from there."
West Indies batted like a side who did not believe that they had it in them to chase a daunting target. Chris Gayle played the anchor role with a doughty 84, but he found precious little support from anyone else except Brian Lara. The pair added 69 for the fourth wicket but West Indies were never up with the asking rate. When Andrew Symonds removed Lara for 40 the innings fell apart, and only a brief counterattack by Marlon Samuels (27) got West Indies past 200. Their last five wickets fell for 22 runs, and it is increasingly hard to see how they can salvage something from a series which has so far been so one-sided.
"We bowled well in patches, but again Australia were able to consolidate, keep wickets in hand and have a go at the end," Lara said. "Australia played commanding cricket today to win the match and the series.
"I will tell the boys now that it's a three-match series, we've already lost the seven-match series, but we have three matches left and we can't spiral downwards," Lara added. "We have to look at it as a new competition, aim for a win tomorrow and take command in Grenada." On the evidence of today, all that will achieve is for West Indies to end up believing they have been whitewashed in two series.