Following their 4-1 defeat in the T20s, Australia bounced
back emphatically to end their tour of the West Indies with a victory in the
3-match ODI series. On an incredibly tricky pitch to bat on at Barbados, the
Australian bowlers once again came to the party as they bowled out the West
Indies for a below-par 152 before comfortably chasing the target down in 30
overs thanks to a half-century from Matthew Wade.
Opting to bat first, the West Indies were handed a body blow
early on when opener Evin Lewis was forced to leave the pitch according to
concussion protocols after top-edging a delivery onto his helmet. His
replacement – Shimron Hetmyer – didn’t last too long in the middle either,
dragging a delivery from Josh Hazlewood onto his stumps.
The surface offered plenty of assistance to the spinners
with its two-paced nature, and Australia introduced spin in the 6th over
itself. Ashton Agar was recalled into the XI for this fixture, and the left-arm
spinner wasted no time to get into the contest, removing opener Shai Hope and
Darren Bravo in quick succession. Part-time off-spinner Ashton Turner also got into
the action by castling Nicholas Pooran with a delivery that didn’t spin, while
Mitchell Starc got the crucial wicket of Kieron Pollard off the first ball of
his second spell.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa has been one of the key-men for
Australia on this tour, and after conceding only six runs in his first 4 overs,
Zampa left the West Indies reeling at 75-6 when he cleaned up Jason Holder.
After being cleared to bat, Evin Lewis returned to the
crease and temporarily rescued the hosts, stitching a 44-run partnership with
Alzarri Joseph and reaching his half-century to take the West Indies past 150.
However, the fightback was short-lived as Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc ran
through the tail comfortably with the left-armer continuing to impress in this
series and finishing with 11 wickets across the 3 matches.
Australia’s 153-run chase got off to a tricky start with
both openers returning to the pavilion with only 27 runs on the board. West
Indies introduced spin in the 3rd over of the innings and looked to attack
early on, but Mitchell Marsh relieved some of the pressure with a quickfire 29
off 21 balls that included three 6s and a four. Marsh’s onslaught was
eventually cut short by Sheldon Cottrell, but Matthew Wade (51*) guided the
visitor’s home with key partnerships alongside stand-in captain Alex Carey (35)
and Ashton Agar (19*) to hand Australia a 2-1 series victory.