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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Two teams turn up, only one really tries as Australia win series 4-0

Australia 5 for 324 (R Ponting 61, J Hopes 57*, S Watson 51, M Clarke 47, A Voges 45*) beat West Indies 199 (D Sammy 47, K Pollard 45) by 125 runs: ODI#5 at MCG. Australia won series 4-0.

ODI#5 was embarassingly one sided as West Indies fell apart in the field and, with a couple of exceptions, with the bat.

A 125 run margin if anything understated the differences between the sides.
The tone of the match was set (lowered?) in the second over, bowled by Dwayne Smith, during which Brad Haddin was missed twice, once by Travis Dowlin at second slip (straight to him but missed his hands before bouncing off his chest), then two balls later by Smith himself (a harder return catch). Watch the highlights (link below) for more of the comedy of errors and footage of some robust Australian batting, where several, notably James Hopes 57*/26b (10x4) and Ricky Ponting 61/55b (1x6, 3x4) scored at more than a run a ball (as well as benefiting from fielding errors) and the lowest score was 22.

With the bat the West Indies went down with only a couple of guns blazing. After a brief flourish from Chris Gayle they collapsed to 4/39. Kieron Pollard, one of the few WI successes of the summer (another - Brendan Nash - did well in the Tests but for reasons which I can't fathom didn't even make the ODI team despite being in the squad) justified his belated elevation in the order but he left at 80. The last rites were strung out by Darren Sammy hitting out against debutant Stephen Smith (who almost certainly wouldn't have bowled as much if the match had been closer).

To say as Cricinfo does, partly echoing Ricky Ponting, that the main reason for the poor crowds was "overload" doesn't tell the whole truth. Long (more than 3 match) ODI series between unevenly matched sides just don't work. The discarded tri-series format at least kept interest alive (even if attendances at the matches not involving Australia were often low). Bring them back!


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