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Harvey's heroics keep Australia's unbeaten run intact

Australia 270 for 5 (Ponting 59, Lehmann 55) beat West Indies 205 for 8 (Sarwan 47*) by 2 runs: D/L method

A magnificent and typically unorthodox allround performance from Ian Harvey proved too good for a spirited West Indian side, as Australia extended their unbeaten run in one-day internationals to 18 matches in a rain-affected encounter in Kingston. The end result was flatteringly close - after Harvey's exploits, West Indies did not realistically threaten Australia's total, with 16 runs required from Brett Lee's final over, and seven from the final ball alone.

Selected ahead of the resting Jason Gillespie, Harvey clubbed a vital 48 not out from 30 balls to lift Australia to an imposing total of 270 for 5, then picked up three wickets in consecutive overs - including the big cheese of Brian Lara - after 13 overs had been lost to a torrential downpour. At once stage West Indies needed just 94 runs from 82 balls with eight wickets in hand, but not even Ramnaresh Sarwan, whose unbeaten 47 lifted his ODI average to 57.73, could rescue the match.
Although West Indies dominated for lengthy periods, they were distinctly frail in the closing overs of each innings. After winning the toss and choosing to field first, they restricted Australia to 183 for 5 in 40 overs, only for Harvey and the ubiquitous Michael Bevan to thump 87 runs from the last 62 balls of the innings. And then, after going to the rain-break excellently placed at 114 for 2, they proceeded to lose six wickets for 61 in ten overs.

Lara's, as ever, was the key wicket. While he was at the crease, Australia had little chance of restricting West Indies in a sprint finish, but moments after he had launched Harvey through midwicket for four, Lara hoicked injudiciously at a cunning leg-roller, and edged a simple catch through to Adam Gilchrist. Devon Smith, on his one-day debut, had added 49 for the third wicket with Lara, but he followed in identical fashion 11 balls later, and when Marlon Samuels holed out to Andrew Symonds at backward point for 2, that was effectively that.

Omari Banks briefly threatened to reprise his heroic role in the fourth Test when he belted Harvey over midwicket for six, but he was run out for 10 by a poor call from Sarwan, and Carlton Baugh and Vasbert Drakes were bowled in consecutive overs. Sarwan did his utmost to keep up with an asking rate of nine an over, but he was always swimming against the tide.

The early part of the innings was much more to West Indies's liking. Chris Gayle and Ricardo Powell opened up with a fusillade of boundaries, adding 75 for the first wicket in 14 overs, with a range of disdainful strokes that ultimately brought about their downfall. Both men fell to Lee in consecutive deliveries - Gayle hoisted a swirling chance to Brad Hogg, who took a fine catch over his shoulder running back from extra cover, and when Lee followed up with an adrenaline-fuelled bouncer, Powell could only splice it straight up in the air, for Gilchrist to take a simple catch (75 for 2).

For all his efforts, Harvey was somehow overlooked as the man of the match. That honour fell to Ricky Ponting, who announced his return to form and fitness with an effortless half-century. Ponting has been suffering from a viral infection and missed Monday's Test defeat in Antigua, but he took no time whatsoever to regain his touch and remind his team who's the boss, now that Steve Waugh has flown home. Merv Dillon made early inroads into Australia's innings with the wickets of Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden, but with a half-fit Lehmann hobbling along in his wake, Ponting wrested control for Australia with a 66-ball 59.

But West Indies were disciplined in the field, and with ten overs remaining they had high hopes of restricting Australia to a sub-250 score. But no total can be discounted when Bevan is at the crease. His unrivalled eye for a gap kept the scoreboard rotating, even though he appears to have given up scoring boundaries - he scored just two today, and 13 in Australia's entire World Cup campaign. Harvey's hyperactive hoisting was the perfect foil to Bevan's sedate approach, and their vital stand ensured that Australia's total would remain out of reach.