Sydney: The West Indies made runs harder to come by but still presented cheap wickets as Australia trounced them in the first of the best-of-three finals in the Carlton Series at the SCG last night.
Bowling with aggression and to a plan, fielding with purpose and effecting two crucial run outs with deft direct hits, the West Indies limited Australia to their lowest 50-overs total of the tournament, 253 for nine.
Their batting then disintegrated, as it has repeatedly done all season, to be all out for 119 from 37.2 overs, 12.4 short of their quota.
Australia's victory, by 134 runs, made their record 9-0 in the tournament and 10-0 over the West Indies in Tests and One-Day Internationals for the season.
Chasing their target, the West Indies' openers, Ridley Jacobs and Daren Ganga, were out before a run had been scored, Jacobs caught behind off the outside edge and Ganga given lbw by umpire Simon Taufel even though TV replays clearly showed he inside-edged the ball into his pad.
Brian Lara hinted that he was in the mood to make a challenge with a blazing 35 off 38 balls with seven fours but when he was out to end a third-wicket partnership of 58 with Marlon Samuels, the remaining eight wickets crumbled for 61 from 23 overs.
Australia are way out favourites to win the second final in Melbourne tomorrow (tonight East Caribbean time) and become the first team to win all of their matches since the annual triangular series was first introduced in 1978-79. Clive Lloyd's West Indies lost one in 12 in 1984-85.
The intensity of the finals and the West Indies' best effort in the field against the powerful Australians led to plenty of banter.
The lively Cameron Cuffy and Shane Warne exchanged words during Warne's brief innings that was ended by the tall fast bowler and Michael Bevan directed comments from mid-on to Lara after the left-hander took his second ball, from Glenn McGrath, on shoulder and helmet. When Bevan whizzed a return near Lara in the same over, the West Indian had a word with umpire Simon Taufel.
Controlled West Indian bowling and the run outs of the dangerous Adam Gilchrist by Ganga from fine leg and the equally threatening Damien Martyn by Laurie Williams on the follow-through to his own bowling, kept Australia in check until all-rounder Ian Harvey belted two sixes and two fours in an unbeaten 47 off 45 balls.
No Australian got going after captain Jimmy Adams sent them in on winning the toss, ignoring the fact that the team batting first had won seven of the previous nine internationals at the SCG.
Cuffy produced a lifting ball to have Mark Waugh taken at slip in the 10th over, Gilchrist was run out in the 17th and Ponting, Bevan and Steve Waugh all fell after getting starts.
When the big-hitting Andrew Symonds skied his hook off Nixon McLean's well directed bouncer to give wicket-keeper Jacobs the third of his four catches, Australia were shaky at 179 for six in the 40th over.
But Harvey entered to lead the charge that brought 74 from the last ten overs and gave Australia a total beyond any the brittle West Indies batting had reached in its eight qualfying matches against Australia and Zimbabwe.
It buckled once more as Australia asserted their embarrassing superiority. Lara's dismissal was again the key. He got a thick edge to a ball from medium-pacer Damien Fleming angled across him and wicketkeeper Gilchrist flung himself to his left to grab a sensational one-handed catch.
Captain Adams was dismissed in similar fashion, off Harvey's medium-pace, and Samuels followed two balls later, run out by Bevan's direct hit after confusion over a single with new batsman, Ricardo Powell.
Not for the first time, Powell was out to an atrocious, across-the-line stroke and there was nothing much from the rest although Sylvester Joseph held on for 18 off 47 balls before he was out to the second catch he offered to Warne off his own bowling.