A maiden century from George Bailey and another inspired bowling performance by the emerging Mitchell Starc helped Australia beat the West Indies by 54 runs in the second one-day international at the WACA in Perth yesterday.
Set 267 to win after Bailey’s unbeaten 125 rescued the Australia innings, the West Indies were cruising at 159 for three in the run chase before the return of Starc to the attack turned the match again as the tourists were bowled out 212 in the 39th over.
Starc (5-32) had claimed the first three wickets in the West Indies innings, all leg before wicket, to have them reeling at 33 for three, but when he came back into the attack Australia were struggling, with opener Kieran Powell and Dwayne Bravo putting on a century partnership for the fourth wicket.
However, the left-armer, who took 5-20 as Australia routed the West Indies for 70 in Friday’s opening game en route to a nine-wicket victory, struck two more telling blows.
After spinner Glenn Maxwell ended the Powell and Bravo partnership at 126 runs by having the latter caught behind for 45, Starc removed Powell, adjudged leg before for 83 on a decision review, and Devon Thomas (0) in successive balls to claim his second five-wicket haul in as many matches.
Thomas was given out in quite bizarre circumstances, with umpire Nigel Llong giving the batsman not out on a caught behind appeal, but third umpire Asad Rauf reversing the decision despite the apparent lack of any evidence at all to suggest the batsman hit the ball.
When Darren Sammy fell for 8 a short time later, the West Indies had lost 5 for 20 and slumped to 179-8.
Sunil Narine (24) briefly lifted the tourists’ hopes when he belted four sixes in a row off Maxwell (4-63), before being stumped from the last ball of the same over.
Earlier, brilliant catching by the West Indies had Australia in deep trouble at 98-6, before Bailey steered a spirited fightback that saw the hosts make 266-7 from their 50 overs.
Bailey, who described Starc as an “extraordinary talent,” said Australia’s total exceeded even their own expectations after the poor start.
“When James [Faulkner] came out we thinking let’s get it to 200,” he said. “To end up with more than 260 was a bonus.”
Bailey reached his century by blasting Kemar Roach over midwicket for six in the 49th over.
He then finished the innings in style, hitting three sixes in the final over from Bravo as Australia plundered 25 runs.
Bailey hit 30 runs from the last six balls he faced in the innings, facing 110 deliveries overall, and hitting 10 fours and four sixes.
Having had Australia under pressure with both bat and ball, Powell was pleased with the improved performance, but said the West Indies did not make the most of their efforts.
“We didn’t take the opportunities we had, but there are lessons to be learned and lots of positives,” he said.