June 27, 2008


The West Indies will have to play out of their skins if they are to stay in contention for the remainder of the One Day International Series against the world champion Australia.

The West Indies lost by 84 runs last Tuesday here at the Arnos Vale Playing Field, in another below par performance, as their roller coaster ride continues.{{more}}

It was the West Indies third defeat at the venue, which has been a happy hunting ground for the regional side.

Playing in the seventeenth encounter and the first full One Day international since major refurbishing was done to the venue; about 8000 spectators were present, on a hazy day. But it was gloomy from the start, as the West Indies body language was a mirror reflection of the day’s weather conditions.

From the get go, they let the Australians off the hook as debutant Shaun Marsh struck an impressive 81, which virtually sealed the issue.

Marsh, son of former Australia batsman Geoff Marsh, shared in an opening stand of 75 with Shane Watson who made 31.

In the middle overs Brad Haddin spanked 50 and Mike Hussey 44, which then guided Australia to an imposing 273 for 8. The two shared in fifth wicket stand of 91. In between pace bowler Jerome Taylor continued his derailing of Captain Rick Ponting, bowling him for five. He was Taylor’s lone scalp.

Darren Sammy was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 34. Dwayne Bravo bagged 2 for 54, and there was a wicket apiece for Captain Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Sulieman Benn.

In reply, the West Indies task of overhauling the total became harder as Brett Lee claimed opener Xavier Marshall caught at the wicket for six and Nathan Bracken trapped Gayle LBW for 20.

Sarwan soon followed and it became 29 for 3.

Debutant Andre Fletcher and Bravo were involved in a mini recovery of 51 for the next wicket, before Bravo was trapped in front by Michael Clarke and Fletcher was smartly run out by a quick thinking Haddin, who saw him lazily getting back to his crease.

Darren Sammy and Denesh Ramdin added 52, but when they were separated, the match was over.

There was high drama when play was stopped in the 40th over after the crowd responded to the dismissal of Sammy by hurling plastic bottles and other objects on to the field.

Sammy had queried the umpire’s decision which incensed the crowd, who also booed Umpire Asad Rauf. The unpleasant scenes quickly abated with clearing down by ground officials and the game continued without further incident once the debris was off the playing area.

Marsh was named Man of the Match.

The two teams next stop over in Grenada today Friday, for the second ODI and third also at the Grenada National Stadium on Sunday.