x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

West Indies buckle to Australia again

Australia win the ODI series 4-0 in Melbourne and are just two Twenty20 matches away from an unbeaten summer season.

Australia edged closer to their first unbeaten summer in nine years as the one-day international series against West Indies came to a predictable end at the MCG. In yet another one-sided match, the Windies were simply abysmal as Australia coasted to a 125-run win. The margin actually flattered the tourists, who at one stage collapsed to 135 for eight before being bowled out for 199 in the 37th over in reply to Australia's 324 for five. The match was played in front of just 15,538 fans ? the lowest crowd ever for a one-day match between these two sides at the MCG. And it was easy to see why supporters stayed away as Australia coasted to an easy win against a West Indies team which produced a terrible display.

The outclassed visitors somehow managed to drop five catches during the Australia innings, giving lives to the openers Brad Haddin (twice in one over) and Shane Watson as well as the skipper Ricky Ponting and James Hopes and the home side took full advantage. The win gave Australia a 4-0 series triumph, after the third ODI in Sydney was washed out, to go with an earlier 2-0 and 3-0 Test series wins over the Windies and Pakistan respectively as well as the 5-0 one-day series whitewash over Pakistan in January. That means that as long as Australia do not lose either of their upcoming two Twenty20 internationals against West Indies they will have gone through the summer unbeaten for the first time since 2000-2001.

From the time Haddin was dropped twice in just the fourth over, this game was a no-contest as he and Watson, who was also dropped on 29 in the eighth over in his first innings since being crowned the Allan Border Medallist on Monday night, put on 81 for the first wicket in just 14 overs. Watson made a run-a-ball 51 and Haddin hit 32 before the latter was bowled by Kieron Pollard in the 17th over. Pollard once again the only Windies player to offer any resistance with bat and ball. Ponting, who was dropped on 47, and Michael Clarke then put on a 104-run stand off just 101 balls for the third wicket before Ponting was caught behind for 61 off the first ball of Pollard's second spell.

After Clarke (47 off 58 balls) and Cameron White (22 off 33 balls) departed, man of the match Hopes (57 not out off 26 balls) and Adam Voges (45no off 36 balls) continued to pile on the misery for the visitors who continued to be their own worst enemy as Wavell Hinds dropped a regulation catch in the deep to give Hopes a life on 24. This turned out to be the most crucial dropped catch of all as Hopes went on to smash the fifth-fastest one-day half-century ever by an Australian player. The Windies' effort with the bat was just as bad as Travis Dowlin departed for a golden duck, lbw to Doug Bollinger in the first over, before Bollinger yet again claimed the Windies skipper Chris Gayle in his next over ? the ball after Gayle had just thumped him for two successive sixes.

Once Gayle (14 off five balls) again departed quickly, there was a sense of inevitability about another Windies' batting collapse as only Pollard (45 off 51 balls) knuckled down before Steven Smith ? on his ODI debut ? ended his stay with a fine running catch on the boundary at deep square off the bowling of Hopes in the 18th over. * PA Sport