West Indies v Australia ODIs - Men's
Windies overcome batting stumble to level series
In a low-scoring affair in Barbados, the hosts chased down a target of 188 with four wickets in hand in a match dominated by the bowlers
Louis Cameron at Kensington Oval, Barbados
25 July 2021, 02:00 PM AEST
West Indies have set up a series decider after registering a four-wicket victory in a low-scoring second ODI after the Australia's top order was found wanting on a turning Kensington Oval surface.
Wes Agar (41 off 36 balls) would not have been playing if the game had gone ahead two days earlier as planned, but the second-gamer led an unlikely Aussie rear-guard that saw them reach a defendable 187 after a devastating spell from Akeal Hosein had reduced them to 6-45.
But the lack of any meaningful contribution from Australia's top six – only two reached double digits – proved decisive as Nicholas Pooran (59no off 75 balls) and Jason Holder (52 off 69) put on a match-deciding 93 for the sixth wicket.
Fresh off a five-for in the series opener, Mitchell Starc delivered another fiery new-ball assault under lights. He finished with 3-26 from his 10 overs and could easily have added a couple more wickets to the eight he's taken in two games so far this series.
The match went ahead two days later than planned to due to a COVID-19 scare, with stand-in skipper Alex Carey's decision to bat first on Thursday carrying over to the rescheduled start. The West Indies did permit Australia to change the XI they named 48 hours ago to include Agar at Josh Hazlewood's expense, while Riley Meredith made his debut.
Australia had looked in the box seat to defend their meagre total when skipper Kieron Pollard's exit left the Windies 5-72, and the tourists will wonder how things may have been different had Moises Henriques held onto a catch off Pooran (on 26) off Adam Zampa with 65 runs still required.
Pooran was put down again on 49, a much tougher chance at slip by Wade off Ashton Turner, as he capped a superb knock with an inside-out six a few balls before Alzarri Joseph (five not out) sealed the win.
A bit of good news for the visitors was that Ben McDermott did not suffer a serious injury after dramatically destroying a wooden advertising hoarding while attempting a boundary-line catch. Fielders and medical staff rushed to his aid, but he was able to resume his place on the field a short time later.
Between them, Australia's numbers 7-10 scored more than 70 per cent of their total after the top six were all dismissed inside 13 overs.
Agar's 41 (off 36 balls) was the second highest ODI score by an Australian batting at No.10 while Wade (36 off 68), Zampa (36 off 62) and Starc (19 off 43) also played vital hands before the Aussies were bowled out in the 48th over.
Left-arm spinner Hosein (3-30 off 10) had stunned Australia by ripping the heart out of their middle order with a brilliant six-ball, three-wicket blitz capped by an unplayable turning delivery that clean bowled Turner (1 off 4).
Carey (10 off 15) had also had his woodwork rattled while Henriques (4 off 13) was caught at slip as both reached to drive and were beaten by Hosein's vicious spin.
Wade, playing his first ODI series in four years, found capable partners in Starc and Zampa and put on 51 and 32 with them respectively and, more importantly, saw off the threat of Hosein.
Agar had only passed double digits once in his 22 previous List A and T20 innings, but the fast bowler played a gem of an innings in Australia's revival.
The 24-year-old carted two sixes, including a jaw-dropping flick over backward square off Jason Holder, while Zampa also played a series of confident blows in the pair's innings-high 59-run stand.
In the chase, Starc looked to have added to his remarkable first-over wicket-taking knack when Evin Lewis was given out caught behind, but that turned out to be one of four decisions for the evening that were overturned on review.
Superb rear-guard from the Aussie tail including second-gamer Wes Agar #WIvAUS pic.twitter.com/EUUpvMP7fT— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) July 24, 2021
There was little doubt when Lewis got smashed on the ankle in the following over before Darren Bravo had his off-stump ripped out of the ground off the first ball he faced to the delight of Starc.
A fired-up Zampa (2-43 off nine) bowled both Jason Mohammed and Pollard with wrong'uns, with the leg-spinner letting loose with a fervent celebration after dismissing the Windies captain who had gotten hold of him in the first ODI.
That came after Turner had marked his first bowl at international level in four-and-a-half years by ratting the woodwork of the Windies leading batter, Shai Hope, after the opener had compiled a steady 43-ball 38 to set up the run chase.
The last wicket Turner, an off-spinner whose bowling has been limited by four shoulder reconstructions, had taken in any form of limited-overs cricket had come for Australia way back in 2017.
Ben McDermott putting his body on the line and crashing through the signage. He's currently off the field getting checked out by the team doctor #WIvAUS pic.twitter.com/be1R7Qn2NT— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) July 25, 2021
But Holder and Pooran coolly tamed the Aussie attack, which could have benefited from the spin of Agar's brother Ashton, who remains sidelined due to a hamstring injury.
Ben McDermott's two-day wait for his second ODI innings had earlier ended in perfect symmetry when he departed for a second-ball duck to Sheldon Cottrell.
Josh Philippe, after scoring a fluent 39 in his debut on Tuesday, again looked every bit the international cricketer but his frustrating tour continued as he fell into a leg-side trap the Windies had set for him, out for 16.
West Indies XI: Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Darren Bravo, Jason Mohammed, Kieron Pollard (c), Nicholas Pooran, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Hayden Walsh
Australia XI: Ben McDermott, Josh Philippe, Mitch Marsh, Moises Henriques, Alex Carey (c & wk), Ashton Turner, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Riley Meredith, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Wes Agar
Qantas Tour of the West Indies 2021
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (vc for ODIs), Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade (vc for T20Is), Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Nathan Ellils, Tanveer Sangha.
West Indies ODI squad: Kieron Pollard (c), Shai Hope (vc), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Anderson Phillip, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd
T20 series: West Indies won 4-1 (all matches at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia)
First T20: West Indies won by 18 runs
Second T20: West Indies won by 56 runs
Third T20: West Indies won by six wickets
Fourth T20: Australia won by four runs
Fifth T20: West Indies won by 16 runs
ODI series (all matches at Kensington Oval, Barbados)
First ODI: Australia won by 133 runs
Second ODI (D/N): West Indies won by four wickets
Third ODI (D/N): July 27, 4.30am AEST (July 26, 2.30pm local)