x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Australia secure series win over Windies

Australia clinch victory in their five-match series against the West Indies with a convincing 50-run win at the Gabba.

Australia clinched victory in their five-match series against the West Indies with a convincing 50-run win at the Gabba tonight. Set an imposing target of 325 after Ricky Ponting's sparkling century in the fourth match in the series, the tourists never looked like passing the record score on the ground. To their credit, they did manage to bat through the whole 50 overs, reaching 274 for eight, but Australia now lead the series 3-0. Twenty20 specialist Kieron Pollard top-scored for the West Indies with 62 off 55 balls and along with Dwayne Smith (58 not out) combining for a 102-run partnership. Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris both took two wickets for Australia, with Bollinger dismissing the West Indies skipper Chris Gayle yet again. Top-scoring with 106 from 112 balls, Ponting's 29th one-day century was his first in Brisbane. Ponting's clinical innings contained just six boundaries and two sixes but was characterised by two crucial partnerships ? a 52-run second-wicket stand with fellow Tasmanian Tim Paine (24), followed by a 131-run combination with Cameron White who made an impressive 63 from 78 balls. Mike Hussey (23 off 17) and James Hopes (42 off 21) helped the hosts reach their total with some late power-hitting as the West Indies pace attack watched in horror as the scoreboard ticked over 300. Taking a nasty hit to the back of the head, White was cleared of any serious damage after going for an X-ray at a local Brisbane hospital. Beginning their run chase, Gayle needed to stand firm and he blasted six boundaries in the first five overs. Refusing to take up anything less than an attacking stance, the big left-hander moved the tourists onto 42 without loss after five overs but that was as testing as things got. Losing two wickets without score, Travis Dowlin (eight) was the first to go, edging Ryan Harris through to Paine behind the stumps. In the following over, Gayle was the next to depart when he edged Bollinger's cutter into the grateful gloves of Paine, to be out for 34 from 21 balls. Bowling in front of his home crowd, Hopes' introduction in the 10th over worked with Lendl Simmons (one) departing cheaply to leave the West Indies struggling at 55 for three. With the Australians on top, the batting side could only manage to add a disappointing 10 runs to their total by the end of the 15th over with Wavell Hinds and Narsingh Deonarine struggling to keep out Mitchell Johnson and Hopes. Hinds and Deonarine bunkered down and were able to bring up the 100 for the West Indies. But a mix-up in the 21st over saw Hopes throw down the stumps with a direct hit, dismissing Hinds for 20 after Deonarine refused a quick single. Sitting at 118 for four at the halfway mark of the innings, Deonarine looked to be like the only West Indies player able to provide any resistance as spinners Nathan Hauritz and Adam Voges operated from the Stanley and Vulture Street ends. Playing some positive shots, Deonarine brought up his half-century by shovelling Hauritz over midwicket, however he was out the very next delivery when he found Harris at long-off. Denesh Ramdin (15) was the next to depart, playing Bollinger's delivery onto his stumps in the 31st over. Pollard provided some fight, hitting the first six of the innings in the 35th over when he hoisted Harris' slower ball over mid-wicket. Voges gave Smith a lifeline when he dropped a sitter at mid-off two overs later. With nine overs remaining in the match, Pollard hit Harris for two sixes, firstly over mid-on and then straight down the ground. Pollard ? one of two bright stars for the West Indies ? deserved his first one-day international half-century, bringing it up in the 43rd over off just 43 balls. The 102-run partnership between Pollard and Smith finally came to an end when Johnson snared his first wicket of the innings after Pollard picked out Hussey down the ground. Smith's half-century came in the same over when he hit Johnson for consecutive sixes down the ground. With the innings drawing to a close, Darren Sammy was bowled for a duck with Harris' final delivery of the night, before Smith and Nikita Miller played out the final over.

* PA Sport