Hayden Walsh’s maiden five-wicket haul was overshadowed by a dramatic West Indies batting collapse, as the home side slumped to their third largest-ever defeat to Australia in the opening day/night One-Day International here late Tuesday.
Chasing a revised target of 257 after Australia had been limited to 252 for nine in a contest reduced to 49 overs due to rain, West Indies crashed to 123 all out in the 27th over, to lose by 133 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.
Tottering on 27 for six in the eighth over, West Indies seemed destined for perhaps their heaviest ever defeat in ODIs but captain Kieron Pollard slammed 56 off 57 balls to rescue some pride from the failed run chase.
Walsh chipped in with 20 down the order but was the only other player to get that many, as the entire West Indies top order imploded, crippled by Man-of-the-Match left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc who snatched five for 48 and new ball partner Josh Hazlewood, who captured three for 11.
“I was disappointed with our overall batting performance, to not even chase down 250. I don’t think we showed enough fight and enough courage,” Pollard said.
“It’s an experienced bowling attack that they have and we need to fight as individuals and as a team when we’re out there.”
Opting to bat first earlier, Australia were propelled by captain Alex Carey’s 67 off 87 deliveries and Ashton Turner’s breezy 49 off 45 deliveries, the pair staging a fifth wicket stand of 104 to revive the innings after a clatter of wickets.
Debutant openers Josh Philippe (39) and Ben McDermott (28) produced handy knocks while in-form Mitchell Marsh got 20 but leg-spinner Walsh took wickets at regular intervals to stall the Aussies’ progress.
He was supported by fast bowler Alzarri Joseph (two for 40) and left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein (2-50), both of whom claimed two wickets.
Phillippe lashed four fours and a couple of sixes in a 42-ball knock to hand Australia a decent start, as he put on 51 for the first wicket with McDermott who faced 48 balls and punched two fours.
Hosein got the breakthrough at the end of the 11th over when Philippe played on to a straight delivery, as he gave himself room to hit through the off-side.
And Marsh added a further 29 with McDermott for the second wicket before gloving a leg-side catch behind off Joseph in the 16th over, triggering a slide that saw three wickets tumble for 34 runs, leaving Australia stumbling on 114 for four in the 26th over.
The left-handed Carey arrived to lash four fours and two sixes while Turner struck a couple of fours and sixes, combining to revive the innings in their century stand.
However, both fell in the 45th over to Walsh following the second rain break, with the Aussies hunting quick runs—Carey missing a heave and having his leg-stump knocked back and Turner top-edging to deep square where Evin Lewis held a well-judged catch.
Walsh then snapped up the last three wickets in quick time as five wickets went down for 29 runs.
Lewis fell to the first ball of the run chase, tapping a return catch to Starc and Jason Mohammed lost his off-stump to the same bowler in the next over for two with four runs on the board.
Shimron Hetmyer got a leading edge back to Hazlewood in the next over for 11, Nicholas Pooran played across one on leg-stump from Starc to be lbw second ball in the fifth over while Darren Bravo drove Hazlewood to cover point to perish for two, eight balls later.
When Jason Holder picked out long-leg with an ill-advised hook at Hazlewood without scoring, the West Indies innings lay in ruins.
Pollard counter-attacked, however, belting five fours and three sixes, to inspire a 68-run, seventh wicket partnership with Alzarri Joseph (17) to patch up the innings.
Though missing the preceding five-match T20 series through injury, Pollard showed no signs of lethargy, bringing up his 12th ODI half-century with a pull for four off debutant seamer Wes Agar and a single off the next ball.
The partnership ended when Joseph was bowled by seamer Marsh in the 19th over and when Pollard edged the third ball of Starc’s second spell to first slip. West Indies lost their last four wickets for 28 runs.