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Lee makes quick work of Windies
Harish Kotian | September 24, 2006 16:16 IST
Last Updated: September 24, 2006 19:33 IST
Australia produced a dominant bowling display to humiliate the West Indies by a margin of 127 runs and win the DLF Cup one-day international tri-series in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Electing to bat, Australia posted 240 for 6 in their 50 overs before bundling out their opponents for a meagre 113 in 34.3 overs in the final.
Fast bowler Brett Lee was again Australia's hero, claiming four wickets for 24 runs. He got good support from left-armer Nathan Bracken, who took 3 for 16.
Lee ended up with 12 wickets in three matches in the tournament and was largely responsible for Australia's success. He was deservedly named the man of the match and man of the series.
Earlier, Andrew Symonds and Damien Martyn scored half-centuries to guide Australia to a healthy total.
Symonds played a breezy innings of 52 from 59 balls, inclusive of two boundaries and two sixes, while Martyn contributed 52 from 77 balls. The duo added 73 runs for the fourth wicket to help Australia accelerate in the middle overs after a slow start.
Australia won the toss and elected to bat. Windies paceman Ian Bradshaw started off with a maiden. Partnering him was part-timer Dwayne Smith, who had rocked India earlier in the tournament with an early burst of four wickets. Skipper Brian Lara was hoping for similar heroics.
The two bowlers choked Australia's openers early on. Simon Katich and Shane Watson could score only 11 without loss after five overs, with just one boundary coming of those.
Ian Bradshaw was the most impressive bowler, as he kept bowling in the channel just on and outside the off-stump. He soon had his reward when he got Shane Watson caught in the slips for 18, as the opener tried to force him through the off-side. (24-1, 7)
Australia found the going tough as the West Indies concentrated on bowling a tight line and restricting the run scoring. Katich was finding it tough even to play the ball in the gaps for singles.
Then disaster struck as Australia lost their captain. Ponting, on 6, played back to Jerome Taylor, but the ball kept low and struck him right in front of the stumps. (37-2, 13.2)
Katich's misery finally ended when he lofted Chris Gayle straight to the long-on fielder. The left-hander's innings was a struggle all through, as he scored 25 from 66 balls, with just a boundary and a six.
Australia might have hoped that he could carry on and accelerate at the end, but he wasted it all with a rash shot. (80-3, 23.4)
Katich hogged the majority of the strike when he was the crease, as he failed to rotate it. He had just 13 singles in his innings compared to the 49 dot balls, analyzing how difficult he made it for himself and his team.
Damien Martyn, under fire for his string of low scores recently, then set about improving the team's run-rate. He reached his half-century in the 37th over, off Dwayne Bravo, in 73 balls.
An over before that Australia were 127 for 3 and Andrew Symonds decided it was time to step on the accelerator. A couple of sixes in successive overs off Bravo and Gayle took the Australian run-rate past the 4 runs per over mark for the first time in the innings in the 38th over.
But the West Indies countered it by taking quick wickets, those of Martyn and Symonds.
Bradshaw, back for his second spell, got the wicket of Martyn with his second delivery, when he had him caught by Runako Morton at long-off. (153-4, 38.2)
Martyn added 73 runs for the fourth wicket with Symonds before he was caught trying to clear the boundary ropes.
The West Indies then followed it up with the wicket of danger man Symonds. The right-hander was dismissed just as he threatened to shred the Windies bowling attack to pieces, falling to part-timer Ramnaresh Sarwan. (173-5, 41.3)
He charged down the track and tried to hit Sarwan on the leg side, but was caught by Morton on the square leg boundary and dismissed for 52. His 59-ball knock contained two boundaries and two sixes that helped Australia lift the run-rate.
His dismissal slowed Australia's momentum a bit and Sarwan was adding to the misery. His ploy of bowling leg spinners from around the wicket in the rough areas was clicking for the Windies.
Clarke (23) tried to take on Sarwan by charging down the wicket to hoist him, but could only top edge it to Gayle at cover. (200-6, 46.1)
But Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin continued their fine form in the tournament and garnered some quick runs in the end overs.
Hussey finished unbeaten on 34 from 24 balls (2 boundaries, 1 six) and Haddin was not out on 17 off 12 balls (1 six) as Australia finished on 240 for 6 in their 50 overs.
They shared an unbroken stand of 40 runs in just 23 deliveries for the seventh wicket to provide Australia a late flourish.
Australia's bowlers would be delighted with the score, considering that they were struggling at 81 for 3 after 25 overs. The last 10 overs yielded 75 runs as the West Indies lost the plot after such a fantastic start by their bowlers.
Bradshaw was the pick of the bowlers, claiming 2 for 30 in his 10 overs. Jerome Taylor had an excellent outing, taking 1 for 36, in his 10 overs. Ramnaresh Sarwan contributed with vital wickets for figures of 21 for 2 in four overs.
The West Indies will would now be hoping to repeat what they did in their last match against the world champions. They staged a remarkable batting performance to chase down Australia's huge total of 272 for 6.
This time around it will be a different cup of tea, with Glenn McGrath back in the side and Brett Lee on song. But Lara's team has done it before and there is no reason why they can do it again; all they need is a good showing from their top order.
West Indies innings:
Brett Lee gave Australia the perfect start, claiming the wicket of the dangerous Chris Gayle off the first ball of the innings.
The fast bowler produced a magical delivery first up to give Australia a vital breakthrough. Gayle had been in top form in the tournament, but even he had no answer to a fast incoming delivery from Lee that swung late and struck him on the toes. (0-1, 0.1)
Lee looked unstoppable in the last match itself, when he claimed 5 for 38 against India, and the Windies must have hoped that he did not repeat that form.
McGrath bowled a short first spell of just three overs, giving away just three runs. He was replaced by left-armer Nathan Bracken, who struck with his second ball.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul was caught at mid-on for 12 as he stopped midway in his shot off Bracken. It seemed that the left-hander wanted to loft Bracken over the mid-on fielder but somehow checked his shot and ended up giving the fielder an easy catch. (16-2, 7.2)
Runako Morton found the going really tough and he himself must have been wondering why he was out there. He had a horrendous 32-ball stay at the wicket, during which he failed to score even a single run. His innings finally came to an end when he fell leg before wicket to Bracken. (20-3, 10)
Bracken then destroyed all hopes the Caribbeans may have entertained with the wicket of captain and batting mainstay Brian Lara for 5.
Bracken got one to pitch perfectly just outside the off-stump and moving away, inviting the left-hander to have a dab at it, taking a nick on the way to the wicketkeeper. (32-4, 15.3)
However, television replays showed the ball missed the bat and the sound heard was the bat hitting the pads. Lara made it obvious as he walked back to the pavilion, but the damage had already been done and somehow it seemed impossible that the West Indies could claw their way back into this match from such a position.
With every over the West Indies were sinking into further trouble, not only had they lost wickets, but the run-rate was constantly dropping. They reached 49 for 4 after 20 overs for a lowly run-rate of 2.45.
Dwayne Bravo didn't survive for long, trying to hit a short ball from Shane Watson and was caught by Ponting at short midwicket for 8. Bravo seemed stunned by the pace and bounce that Watson generated and he ended giving the fielder catching practice. (55-5, 22.1)
Watson then dealt the West Indies another blow in the same over when he bowled Wavell Hinds through the gate and left the islanders in tatters. Hinds, without any real footwork, tried to drive a ball pitched on off-stump, which came in and crashed onto his stumps. (56-6, 22.5)
At the halfway stage the West Indies were looking down the barrel at 64 for 6 after 25 overs. At the same stage, Australia were also struggling at 81 for 3, but they lifted the run-rate later on, as they had wickets in hand, a luxury the West Indies did not have with only four wickets left.
Sarwan tried to add some respectability to the total, scoring 36, before he was run-out from a brilliant piece of fielding by Ponting. Sarwan tried to steal a quick run but the batsmen, Dwayne Smith, sent him back and the ever-alert Ponting caught him short with a brilliant pick up and throw in just one action. (106-7, 30.3)
He added 50 runs for the seventh wicket with Smith as West Indies fans finally had something to cheer about though it did not last long.
Smith's entertaining knock of 30 ended when he pulled one from Lee straight to Ponting at short mid-wicket. He hit two boundaries and two sixes in his 30-ball stay at the wicket to delay Australia's victory charge. (112-8, 32.1)
Lee has gone from strength to strength in this tournament and in the last two matches was virtually unstoppable. Smith's wicket was also his 10th in the tournament.
He added another wicket to this tally when he got Ian Bradshaw caught behind for 0. The batsman tried to drive at a wide delivery, but could only edge it behind to hand wicketkeeper Haddin a simple catch. (112-9, 32.4)
Carlton Baugh was the final wicket to fall, caught by Haddin, who ran to short fine leg, as he attempted a pull shot off Lee. (113-10, 34.3)
Australia were dominant right through with the ball and bowled out the West Indies for 113 in 34.3 overs.
The West Indies batting effort was a complete disaster with as many as seven batsmen failing to cross double digits, out of which four failed to even score a run. Sarwan, with 36, and Smith's attacking 30 added some respectability to the final total of 113.
Australia, who used the tournament to try out new players, benefited as players like Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson left a mark.
Haddin was a revelation both with the bat and gloves and Australia rarely missed their regular wicketkeeper, Adam Gilchrist.
Australia now head to India next month looking to win the ICC Champions Trophy, the only silverware missing from their showcase. Going by their showing in Kuala Lumpur one wouldn't bet against them doing it.