Fans at Kingstown, St Vincent, were treated to an absolutely nail-biting third ODI showdown between the West Indies and Australia, in which no team could be bested, resulting in a tie.
The last time both teams were involved in a tied match was in 1999 at Georgetown. Since then, the Australians have dominated the West Indies just about every time the two nations have clashed.
However, West Indian Captain, Darren Sammy, stated that the West Indies should have won this match. “I think we believed we could beat them, we should have won today. Everyone played their part right down to the number 11” he said.
Australian Shane Watson, won the toss, and chose to bat first, on an outfield that had proven to be very slow in the past two ODIs.
Australian openers, Watson and David Warner, looked full of confidence as they walked out to the middle.
The pair had managed to put 34 runs on the board, before Watson, who has not been having a great series with the bat, was brilliantly run out by Andre Russell.
Just when Australia thought things couldn’t get worse, a few deliveries later, Wade was bowled superbly round his legs by upcoming spinning sensation Sunil Narine, leaving Wade with a very bamboozled look on his face, as he made the long walk back to the pavilion.
The West Indian bowlers were now full of confidence, as they had delivered two major strikes, early into the Australian innings.
Warner and George Bailey, started to slowly work the runs and dig Australia out of a hole, but, a little while later, Warner himself was dismissed after slashing the ball straight into the hands of Kieron Pollard.
With three of their best batsmen back in the pavilion, the West Indies were increasing the pressure on Michael Hussey and Bailey, who were the two fresh batsmen at the crease.
However, the West Indies may have got a little overconfident, as the bowlers started to pitch the ball shorter, allowing Hussey and Bailey to get themselves settled in quickly.
With the runs starting to flow, West Indian Captain, Darren Sammy was starting to get frustrated with the line and length of the bowling.
Hussey and Bailey pushed their partnership past the half century mark and carried on working hard to turn the game around for the Australians.
With the partnership getting out of control, Sammy, tried to trick the batsmen by using the spin pace combination, but, it was no good, as both batsman were looking more and more confident, and soon started to thrash the bowlers all over the ground.
Hussey and Bailey, soon brought up their own half centuries and the hundred partnership as well, which was extremely valuable to Australia, who had struggled at the beginning of the match.
However, just as Hussey and Bailey were looking to inflict even more damage on the West Indies, Bailey, miscued a shot, and was caught out after an excellent innings of 59.The pair had put on a magnificent partnership of 112, which really hurt the West Indies.
With David Hussey joining his brother Michael, the pair were looking to team up and keep the runs flowing, but, Michael Hussey, was stumped by Carlton Baugh, after attempting a big heave, bringing an end to his outstanding innings of 67.
Hussey, who was awarded the Man of the Match award, for his classy innings, said: “This pitch was not easy to bat on, big turn and bounce for the spinners, so they were tough runs.”
When Michael Hussey was dismissed, the rest of the Australian batting lineup completely folded under the intense bowling pressure of the West Indies.
Even the lower order batsmen were bundled out quickly, in order to make sure that they would not be able to make any additional runs that would further hurt the West Indies chance of winning.
West Indian spinner, Sunil Narine, was the star of the bowling once again, as he snapped up three wickets, while, Kemar Roach and Marlon Samuels picked up two wickets each, and Captain Darren Sammy chipped in with one as well, as they restricted the Australians to 220 runs.
Chasing a target of 221, the West Indies, were looking to get a good start from their opening pair, Kieran Powell and Johnson Charles.
Powell, started his innings very slowly, looking to work the singles and doubles whenever he could. Charles, on the other hand, was in no mood to wait around, as he made a blistering start to his innings.
However, Powell might have been playing too cautiously, and this cost him his wicket early into the West Indian chase, much to the delight of the Australians.
But, the Australians were not done there, as they continued to hit the West Indies with regular strikes, as the top order collapsed, under the pressure from the Australian bowlers and fielders. Charles was the only top order batsman that did not fail, as he made 45 runs, which included seven boundaries and one six.
With the West Indies struggling at 78 runs for the loss of five wickets, Kieron Pollard and wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh, started to build a decent partnership.
Pollard, was entertaining the crowd with some big hits, while, Baugh, was just interested in getting himself settled at the crease.
Just as the partnership looked like it would be going past the half century mark, Australia were rewarded with the prize wicket of Pollard on 36, and they also ended the 39 run partnership he and Baugh had put together.
The West Indies were dealt a major blow with the wicket of Pollard, Andre Russell and Baugh, worked hard together to steady the run chase once again.
The pair called efficiently for runs, and dispatched any of the poorer pitched deliveries to the boundary, as they gave the West Indies a new spark of hope to actually chase down their target.
With the partnership passing the half century mark, Australian Captain, Shane Watson, was less than impressed with the bowling and fielding, and told the team to put in more effort.
The talk must have worked, as Andre Russell was caught behind after attempting one big shot too many, ending his innings on 37, and the partnership on 64.
Now that Australia were into the lower order batsmen, they looked to remove them as fast as possible, so that they would be able to emerge victorious, and take a lead in the series.
They succeeded in removing Baugh a couple of deliveries later, bringing an end to his gutsy innings of 33.
Darren Sammy, tried to do his best to stay at the crease, while Sunil Narine, smashed two very valuable boundaries, before his abrupt innings was brought to an end.
With one wicket needed to win, the Australians, increased the pressure, and tried to limit the runs as well.
However, Kemar Roach and Sammy guided the West Indies towards their target, hitting the ball into the gaps and running hard.
Needing just seven runs off the final over, Sammy and Roach worked it down until they needed just five runs off four deliveries. Sammy tied the match with a brilliant boundary, but, the next ball after that, there was a huge mix-up between the batsmen, and Sammy was run out, ending the match as a draw.
When asked about the run out, Sammy said: “The discussion (with Roach ahead of the last ball) was that we were looking to run. I won’t lay blame on anyone, it’s just a shame we couldn’t see out the win.”
Australian Captain, Shane Watson, claimed three wickets for Australia, as Xavier Doherty and Clint Mckay took two each, while Brett Lee and Nathan Lyon both chipped in with a wicket.
Captain Watson, noted that his team needed to get better accustomed to the conditions. “Little things here and there could have been improved, we need to adapt and get better in these conditions. As a captain it is a learning experience playing in a tie but there are a lot of things to work on in the next two matches” he said.
Captain Sammy, on the other hand, was happy with the comeback his team mounted, but, still thought they should have won the game. “The way we came back to get 220 was a great effort. The team believe we can beat Australia, and we will look to win the next two games. The pitch here was not conducive for stroke play but we do need to play some consistent cricket” he said.
With the third ODI being drawn, the two sides are still tied 1-1 in the series, and will be looking to gain the upper hand, when they square off against each other on the 23rd of March at St Lucia.