Australia delivered the first knockout blow against the West Indies, when the two sides faced off in a low scoring 1st ODI at Kingstown.
Australia, who had just claimed victory in the Commonwealth Bank series, were tested by the slow pitch and the youngsters of the West Indian squad.
Australian Captain for the ODI series, Shane Watson, said: “We knew it was an average score and knew it should be enough if we bowled well.”
Watson, won the toss and without hesitation, chose to bat, due to the pitch being slow, which would make chasing a target much harder.
Captain Watson chose to open the batting, along with regular opener David Warner. However, just as Australia looked to building towards to solid start, Watson was dismissed, much to the disappointment of the Australian fans, who were expecting more out of their Captain.
Warner and new batsmen, Peter Forrest, slowly and steadily worked Australia back into the game, with some good running and communication. They also took advantage of any poor deliveries and dispatched them to the boundary, which was easier said than done, due to the slow outfield.
The pair were looking in good touch, as they brought up the fifty partnership, but, just as both batsmen were finding their touch, the West Indies removed Forrest on 26 and also broke the 60 run partnership he and Warner had worked so hard for.
West Indies, sensing there was a chance to get back in the game, struck almost immediately, and got rid of Warner, who was looking to be dangerous. Warner had played beautifully for his 40 runs and was disappointed that he had let his guard down and not pushed on with his innings.
With Warner gone, the brothers, Michael and David Hussey were at the crease together. Both knew that Australia were in a spot of bother and it was up to them to dig them out of the hole.
But, with some tight bowling and good fielding, the West Indians put both the brothers under pressure, and it was David Hussey, who finally gave in and was caught behind for a duck. David Hussey knew that he should have played more sensibly, after the terrific run of form he had found in the Commonwealth Bank series back home in Australia.
Debutant George Bailey came out to the crease to face the ever growing confidence of the West Indian bowlers, but, together with Michael Hussey, he played himself into the game, and the pair started to repair the quick strikes that the West Indies had delivered.
Bailey and Hussey continued to work the runs and seemed to be getting the better of the West Indians, who were starting to get frustrated with the growing partnership.
But, just like the Warner and Forrest partnership, once Hussey and Bailey were starting to step it up another notch, the West Indies finally managed to remove Hussey on 32, ending the crucial partnership he and Bailey had put together on 63.
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, who usually opened the batting for the Australians, was stunned when he was removed first ball and shook his head as he made the long walk back to the pavilion.
Bailey, meanwhile, did not let the continuous fall of wickets derail his innings and soon was within striking distance of his half century. But, he was denied it when he tried to hit one over the top to get to his half century, but was caught, leaving him just two runs shy of what would have been a brilliant half century on debut.
Bailey, was awarded the Man of the Match award, for his excellent batting performance, and said: “We didn’t get as many as we would have liked but I thought if Mike Hussey was finding it tough it must have been tough and we just wanted to give the lower order a chance to have swing at the end.”
With Bailey dismissed, the West Indians continued to remove the lower order batsmen with ease, but didn’t have an answer to Daniel Christian, who provided a little spark at the end of the Australian innings, scoring 18 runs off 21 balls, taking Australia to a final total of 204.
Dwayne Bravo was the pick of the West Indian bowlers, with his three wickets, but he was well supported by teammates Kemar Roach and Marlon Samuels, who chipped in with two wickets each.
The West Indies were oozing with confidence, as their batsmen came out ready and determined to chase down the 205 runs they needed for victory.
However, things couldn’t have started worse for the West Indies, as they lost both openers, Kieran Powell and Johnson Charles, along with Darren Bravo, very early into the innings.
With the score at 33 runs with three of the West Indian batsmen back in the pavilion, it was up to Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels to rebuild the innings.
They did so in good fashion, calling for runs sharply and hitting the odd boundary as the partnership continued to increase.
The Australians were starting to get worried about the partnership and Captain Watson, knew he had to do something to break it, before it got out of hand.
His prayers were answered when Dwayne Bravo played all round a superb delivery by Daniel Christian, ending his resistance of 32 runs, and also effectively ending the partnership at 64 runs.
West Indies were dealt another major four deliveries later, when Marlon Samuels departed on 35, after being caught out.
With Samuels and Bravo back in the pavilion, Australia put the new batsmen at the crease under intense pressure, and it was only a matter of time, before they succumbed and one by one they fell victim to the excellent bowling and fielding of the Australians.
However, with the score standing at 104 runs for the fall of nine wickets, West Indies were going to need an absolute miracle to reach their target.
Captain Darren Sammy, provided some last minute heroics, scoring 35 runs from 20 deliveries, which included three boundaries and three massive sixes.
But, just like that, the Australians ended the match, with the wicket of Sammy, who had put together a last wicket partnership of 36 runs with Kemar Roach. The West Indies had been bowled out for 140, losing the match by 64 runs, much to the surprise of the crowd, who were expecting more of a fight out of their team.
Australia’s Xavier Doherty was all over the West Indians, taking four wickets, while Clint Mckay and Daniel Christian, picked up two wickets each.
Captain Sammy could not believe how his team had collapsed under the pressure of the Australians. “We are very disappointed, losing six wickets for seven runs set us back a little bit. Hopefully we can bounce back in the second match. We have two more games here, we have a history of getting better as a series goes on.”
Captain Watson, on the other hand, credited his bowlers for delivering the big win. “Dwayne Bravo was batting very nicely so we knew we needed a breakthrough but the surface was offering help to the quicks and spinners. Xavier Doherty came back really nicely when he changed ends. All the bowlers were good today” he said.
With Australia taking a 1-0 lead, the West Indies, will be looking to even things up, when the two sides square off against each other on the 18th of March at Kingstown.