Saturday, 9 February 2013

Australia sets target of 275 for West Indies to win

Adam Voges smashed 112 unbeatable against West Indies:

Adam Voges scored his maiden international century to push Australia to a very competitive total of 5 for 274 as they aimed to complete a 5-0 series clean-sweep in the fifth ODI against West Indies in Melbourne. Tino Best rattled Australia with two wickets in the first three overs of the game and later the Australians were wobbling at 4 for 82 but a century partnership between Voges and Brad Haddin launched the recovery before James Faulkner joined Voges for some quick late runs.

Voges finished unbeaten on 112 and Faulkner on 31 and during their partnership the wheels really fell off for West Indies, who leaked 100 runs in the final ten overs. Singles and twos were far too easy and Voges was also finding the boundary, including with a crunching six over long-on against Best in the 50th over. Voges had brought up his ton from his 97th delivery with a hastily-run two and he celebrated like a man who thought the moment would never come.

That would be understandable, for Voges made his one-day international debut nearly six years ago and since then has been almost permanently on the fringes of the national side, playing 17 ODIs but never more than three in a row. He made West Indies pay for giving him a life on 7, when he was put down at slip by Darren Sammy off the spin of Sunil Narine, and given the way Australia were struggling at the time it might prove to be the defining moment.

Voges found the gaps well and showed the form that he had displayed for Western Australia recently, prompting the selectors to give him one more chance at international level. His half-century came from 64 balls and he had good support from Haddin during a 111-run fifth-wicket stand that prevented West Indies capitalising on their impressive start. Eventually Haddin was caught at deep midwicket top-edging a swivelled pull off Kemar Roach but by then Australia were well set.

The match had started so well for West Indies as Best made Sammy's decision to send Australia in look good from the very first ball, which resulted in the wicket of Australia's captain Shane Watson. Best banged the ball in short and Watson tried to leave it alone but was surprised by the amount of bounce, and the ball ricocheted down from his bat onto the stumps.

In Best's next over he got rid of Aaron Finch for 1 with another bouncer, which was pulled straight to Narine right on the boundary at fine leg. Australia were 2 for 2 and it took a steadying 61-run stand between Phillip Hughes and Shaun Marsh to avoid a collapse. Hughes took until his 19th ball to get off the mark and finished with 29 from 61 balls when he was sharply caught by Kieron Pollard at point.

Hughes slashed hard at Dwayne Bravo and Pollard thrust his hand up and knocked the ball up in the air, allowing him to complete the take comfortably on the second grab. Another fine catch ended the innings of Marsh, who was playing his first ODI for nearly a year and a half. On 40, Marsh edged Bravo and was well caught by the wicketkeeper Devon Thomas, diving in front of first slip.

It was the 150th ODI wicket for Bravo, who was the third-quickest West Indian to the milestone, even faster than the great Courtney Walsh. But West Indies didn't have much more to celebrate after that.

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