Voges ton sets up series whitewash
Adam Voges celebrates after reaching his maiden international one-day century. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
AUSTRALIA's record home winning streak against a visiting team in one-dayers has extended to a 17th match and 16th year after it claimed a 17-run win - and with it a 5-0 series whitewash - against the West Indies.
While each team boasted a century-maker - Adam Voges 112 not out for Australia and Johnson Charles 100 for the West Indies - the result was destined to be shaped by the enigmatic Kieron Pollard at the end, with the West Indies seeking to overhaul Australia's 5-274 before 21,962 at the MCG.
The West Indies needed 83 runs from their last 10 overs with five wickets in hand. The run-rate was not a problem until Devon Thomas was run out in the 45th over, a problem exacerbated when Pollard holed out for 45 in the 47th over.
Made it: Australia's James Faulkner declared safe as West Indies' Devon Thomas hits the stumps at the MCG. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Visiting captain Darren Sammy sought to deliver the 40 runs needed from the last three overs, but the Australian death bowlers, particularly Mitch Johnson and James Faulkner, showed greater mettle, with the West Indies finishing on 257.
A positive aspect of Australia's innings was that it managed to steadily increase its run-rate throughout, to the extent that just under half its total was compiled in the last 15 overs. The negative aspect of that was its start was so slow - it didn't reach 100 until the 29th over - and the West Indies were able to play with little risk and still comfortably be ahead on the comparative score.
By the 30-over mark of the chase, they were 3-148, 34 runs and one wicket ahead of Australia at the same stage. The incumbent batsmen, plucky opener Charles and Pollard, were their best opportunity of a successful chase.
Apart from Johnson, who struck with the new ball to remove Kieran Powell and also claimed Dwayne Bravo in his second spell, Australia's bowlers struggled for much of the innings to control the run-rate.
Earlier, the West Indies had two: mystery spinner Sunil Narine and seamer Darren Sammy. While Sammy's figures of 0-37 from 10 overs were tainted by a late flurry from Brad Haddin, finger-spinner Narine deservedly conceded only 27 runs from his allocation.
Narine failed to take a wicket but was arguably the West Indies' most influential bowler. His only rival would have been Tino Best, who removed Shane Watson and Aaron Finch in a fearsome new-ball spell in which his pace hovered about 150km/h.
The dismissals of Phillip Hughes (29) and Shaun Marsh (40) before they were able to accelerate after slow starts put significant pressure on both Voges, who was only a fortnight into his latest international stint, and Haddin. It was during their fourth-wicket partnership of 111 from 104 balls that a 250-plus total became a legitimate possibility for Australia despite its languid start.
Sammy was made to rue sparing Voges in slips when he was on seven. The 33-year-old Voges, whose appointment as interim Western Australia captain three months ago has coincided with a rich vein of form across all formats, paced his innings and also his team's with aplomb. This was reflected in him transforming a strike-rate that was anchored at about 50 for most of his first hour at the crease to reaching his maiden ODI century from 97 balls.
When Haddin fell in the 42nd over for 43, it exposed Australia's bowling all-rounders. Only one was needed, however, as Faulkner proved to be an excellent support for Voges in an unbeaten partnership of 81 from 52 balls.
Charles, 24, was the cornerstone of the West Indies' innings. He benefited from dropped catches by Aaron Finch on nine and substitute Ryan Carters, a Victorian wicketkeeper, in the outfield on 77. He was also on the right end of two decision reviews, yet was nevertheless deserving of his first international century. The biggest blot on his performance was that he meekly departed in the 37th over with the ball after reaching his century.
S WATSON b Best 0
A FINCH c Narine b Best 1
P HUGHES c Pollard b D Bravo 29
S MARSH c Thomas b D Bravo 40
A VOGES not out 112
B HADDIN c Powell b Roach 43
J FAULKNER not out 31
Sundries (1b, 9lb, 7w, 1nb) 18
Total (5 wkts - 50 overs) 274
Fall of wickets: 0 (Watson), 2 (Finch), 63 (Hughes), 82 (Marsh), 193 (Haddin)
Bowling: T Best 10-1-71-2 (5w/6), D Sammy 10-1-37-0, K Roach 10-0-52-1 (1nb), S Narine 10-1-27-0, D Bravo 8-0-62-2 (1w), K Pollard 2-0-15-0
J CHARLES c Cutting b McKay 100
K POWELL c Finch b Johnson 2
DM BRAVO c Faulkner b Doherty 33
D BRAVO b Johnson 13
K POLLARD c Finch b Faulkner 45
N DEONARINE c Haddin b Cutting 4
D THOMAS run out (Marsh) 19
D SAMMY c Haddin b McKay 23
S NARINE b Johnson 0
K ROACH not out 2
T BEST c (sub) b McKay 0
Sundries (1b, 6lb, 9w) 16
Total (all out - 49.5 overs) 257
Fall of wickets: 7 (Powell), 113 (DM Bravo), 129 (D Bravo), 182 (Charles), 186 (Deonarine), 228 (Thomas), 234 (Pollard), 246 (Narine), 257 (Sammy), 257 (Best)
Bowling: C McKay 9.5-0-52-3 (3w), M Johnson 10-1-50-3 (2w), B Cutting 10-0-53-1 (1w), J Faulkner 10-0-47-1 (2w), X Doherty 9-0-46-1 (1w), A Finch 1-0-2-0
Result: Australia won by 17 runs
Man of the Match: Adam Voges
Man of the Series: Mitchell Starc
Series: Australia won five-match ODI series 5-0