West Indies lose their top order batsman for less than 50 runs on the board against Australia.
Chasing a massive target of 325, West Indies lost three early wickets in the form of Travis Dowlin, Chris Gayle and Narsingh Deonarine.
West Indies paid for some sloppy fielding as they allowed Australia to set an imposing target in the final ODI in Melbourne.
The tourists dropped openers Brad Haddin (twice) and Shane Watson as well as skipper Ricky Ponting and James Hopes and the home side took full advantage to score 324 for five from their 50 overs.
In one of the worst fielding displays ever produced by an international team at the MCG, the Windies’ incompetence enabled Haddin and Watson to combine for an 81-run first-wicket stand off just 14 overs to lay the foundation for the home team’s huge score.
Australia went into this clash aiming to complete their fourth successive unbeaten series this summer given they are already 3-0 up against the Windies in the ODIs after game three in Sydney was washed out.
The hosts are yet to lose a match this summer having already beaten West Indies 2-0 and Pakistan 3-0 in Test series as well as clean-sweeping Pakistan 5-0 in the first one-day series and the one-sided nature of the season to date was one factor behind yet another small attendance turning out for this game.
And the Windies certainly began today’s clash like a side badly down on confidence in all facets of the game.
In the fourth over the Windies somehow managed to give Haddin two lives as firstly Travis Dowlin dropped a sitter at second slip off the bowling off Dwayne Smith before Smith then dropped a far more difficult but still catchable chance off his own bowling later in the over.
Haddin was on just seven at the time and made the Windies pay as he and Watson soon set about destroying the visitors’ attack.
Watson, in his first innings since being crowned as the Allan Border Medallist on Monday night, smacked Ravi Rampaul for a four and then a six in the next over before he too was given a life in the eighth over when on 29.
Once again Smith was the unlucky bowler after Rampaul dropped a sharp chance at short fine leg as Australia reached 50 in the same over thanks to another six – this time from Haddin.
Haddin struck an even bigger six in the 13th over when he put Nikita Miller some 15 rows back into the Members Stand before it was Watson’s turn to put another ball over the boundary in the following over off Darren Sammy.
However when Watson tried a repeat shot off a full toss later in the over, the Windies finally held onto a chance as Smith took the catch at deep mid-wicket.
But it was still another fine innings from Australia’s man-of-the-moment as Watson made 51 off just 51 balls with three fours and three sixes.
Haddin fell shortly after in the 17th over for 32 bowled by Kieron Pollard before Ponting, who was dropped on 47, and Michael Clarke put on a 104-run stand off just 101 balls for the third wicket before Ponting was caught behind for 62 off the first ball of Pollard’s second spell.
And then after Clarke (47 off 58 balls) and Cameron White (22 off 33 balls) departed, Hopes (57 not out off just 26 balls) and Adam Voges (45 not out off 36 balls) continued to pile on the misery for the outclassed visitors who continued to be their own worst enemies as Wavell Hinds dropped a regulation catch in the deep to give Hopes a life on 24.
Australia: SR Watson, AC Voges, RT Ponting*, MJ Clarke, CL White, BJ Haddin†, JR Hopes, SPD Smith, RJ Harris, CJ McKay, DE Bollinger
West Indies: CH Gayle*, TM Dowlin, LMP Simmons, N Deonarine, WW Hinds, KA Pollard, D Ramdin†, DR Smith, DJG Sammy, NO Miller, R Rampaul