Kieron Pollard gave the West Indies a 2-1 lead in their ODI series against Australia, after a blistering century.
West Indies, who have been described as a team on the decline, are looking to make a comeback and climb up the cricket rankings.
West Indies Captain, Darren Sammy, thought that the West Indies played superbly well and stuck to the game plan. “Today was just what we’ve been looking for, when we were sitting down as a batting group and planning” he said.
Australia Captain, Shane Watson, shocked everyone at the toss when he decided to bowl on a surface that looked to be a batsman’s paradise.
Watson, had gathered his team into a huddle to discuss about the lack of effort Australia had seemed to be showing in the previous matches, as the West Indian openers, Johnson Charles and Adrian Barath, made their way to the middle.
Barath, made a scorching start to his innings, as he took advantage of the conditions and short pitched bowling of the Australians, while Charles, who place in the squad is not guaranteed anymore, started off very cautiously, looking to work the ball into the gaps for singles to give the strike to Barath.
The pair, started to build a solid partnership, as Captain Watson looked to be considering if he had made the wrong choice of choosing to bowl first.
With the scoreboard ticking along, Watson, started to mix his bowling attack up, in a sign of desperation, but, it didn’t seem to have any effect on the batsman, who had both become settled at the crease.
Once the partnership had crossed the half century mark, Barath, really started to attack the bowlers, but, with the risks he was taking, no one was surprised, when he was caught behind on 41, thus ending the 56 run first-wicket partnership he and Charles had put together.
With Australia finally getting their first breakthrough, the West Indians, started to look a little shaky, as their next few batsmen, got off to decent starts, but, could not convert them into higher scores.
With the score at 106 runs for the loss of three wickets, West Indies were dealt another major blow, as Dwayne Bravo was dismissed first ball, leaving West Indies in a spot of trouble.
However, Kieron Pollard and Darren Bravo, provided the West Indies with a new spark of hope, after they started to build a much-needed partnership.
Pollard, looked to be in blazing form, as he smashed boundary after boundary, while Bravo, supported him with some sensible stroke play.
Pollard and Bravo put together 40 valuable runs, before, Bravo, was caught out on 25.
Andre Russell, another of West Indies premier big hitters, joined Pollard at the crease, and from the beginning, the pair seemed to have a great understanding.
Pollard and Russell, gave the St Lucia crowd a lot to cheer about, as they hammered fours and sixes all over the ground.
Captain Watson, was starting to get extremely worried about the growing confidence of both batsmen at the crease, and tried to introduce a spin pace combination to bring down the scoring rate, but, instead, all that did was lead to more punishment.
The fifty partnership soon came and went, as the pair looked to be unstoppable, much to the delight of the crowd, who wanted to see more big hitting from both batsmen.
With the partnership within striking distance of the century mark, Australia were finally rewarded with the wicket of Russell, who made 34 runs off 32 deliveries, while the partnership had also been ended at 94 runs.
With Pollard knowing that Captain Darren Sammy was the last all-rounder before the lower order batsmen came in, he started to go berserk, cracking six after six, leaving the Australians watching in awe.
Pollard soon brought up his second ODI hundred with a massive six off the bowling of Brett Lee, but, the very next delivery, he was out caught, trying to clear the boundary once again.
Pollard’s innings of 102, included five boundaries and eight massive sixes, with a strike rate of 145.71.
He was presented the Man of the Match award for his excellent innings, and for picking up a wicket. “To play a match-winning knock feels great. The first couple of games, I had the chance to bat a lot of overs. It’s a matter of understanding my role in the team and continuing to try and win games for the West Indies. I’ve been around a long while now, playing cricket all over the world … Some of the sixes I didn’t middle – but once they get over the line they’re all six” he said.
Captain Darren Sammy, provided a little flourish of runs at the end of the West Indian innings, remaining unbeaten on 31 runs from 18 balls, as he carried the team to a commanding total of 294.
Brett Lee, Shane Watson and Xavier Doherty took two wickets each, while Clint Mckay chipped in with one, as the Australians tried to keep the West Indian total as low as possible.
Facing a challenging task of chasing 295, the Australians, got off to the worst start possible, losing opener David Warner just seven deliveries into the match.
With the early loss of Warner, Captain Watson and Peter Forrest, started to rebuild the Australian innings, with some excellent running between the wickets, while also hitting the odd boundary.
Captain Sammy, looked to be slightly worried, as the pair’s confidence and stroke play, continued to grow.
Watson and Forrest, soon brought the fifty partnership, as they looked to be guiding Australia in the right direction for the win.
However, just as the pair were looking to capitalize on passing the half century mark, the West Indies dismissed Watson on 28, and ended the 53 run partnership the pair put together.
Australia were dealt another major blow almost immediately after Watson had departed, when Forrest was also caught out, bringing an end to his innings of 24.
With Australia struggling at 62 runs for the loss of three wickets, Michael Hussey and George Bailey, knew that they had to help re-stabilize the innings.
The pair, played some sensible cricket, as they worked the runs, and took advantage of any poor deliveries by dispatching them to the boundary.
With the scoreboard now moving along at a steady pace, Sammy tried turning to his best bowlers in an attempt to remove one of the batsmen.
However, it was not until the pair were just coming up on the half century mark, that Sammy was granted his wish of a wicket, when Bailey was caught behind on 25, which also ended the partnership on 49.
With David Hussey coming out to join his brother at the crease, the Australians were hoping that they would be able to inject a spark of life into the innings, but, to their horror, Michael Hussey, who looked to be in good touch, was dismissed on 26.
With Hussey gone, wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, who has not performed in the last three ODIs, worked hard with David Hussey, to build a partnership and try to push Australia closer and closer to their target of 295.
Wade and Hussey, started to frustrate the West Indies Captain, as the runs started to flow.
Hussey, was doing most of the hitting though, as he brought up his half century, while Wade, was just happy to work the singles and keep Hussey on strike.
The pair’s partnership soon passed the half century mark, and started to become a thorn in the side of Captain Sammy.
Hussey and Wade, started to step it up to the next level, as they frustrated the West Indian bowlers, resulting in poor deliveries, which the pair dealt with appropriately.
However, the partnership was brought to an end on 67, after Wade was caught out on 15.
The West Indies struck quickly once again, this time picking up the prize wicket of Hussey, who was bowled off an excellent delivery from Kemar Roach, on 57.
With the lower order batsmen left between them and taking the lead in the series, the West Indies, started to increase the pressure.
But, the pressure did not seem to faze Brett Lee, who started to hammering the West Indies bowling lineup all over the park.
Lee, was looking in fine form, however, with the constant fall of wickets on the other end, Lee, had to take matters into his own hands.
He left the West Indies in tatters after hitting boundaries and sixes in all directions, which even impressed some of the West Indian players and fans.
The Australian dressing room, were cheering every boundary by Lee, since it inched them closer to victory.
Lee, brought his half century up with a huge six off the bowling of Andre Russell, and soon brought up his highest score in ODIs.
However, with Ben Hilfenhaus being his final partner, Lee, tried to go for one big shot too many, which resulted in the end of his entertaining batting display.
Lee had made 59 runs from just 48 balls, which included five boundaries and five huge sixes.
With the wicket of Lee, the West Indies started to celebrate, having won the game by 42 runs, while the Australians were left to look on in total despair.
Kemar Roach, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Andre Russell all took two wickets for the West Indies, while Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard had one each.
Australian Captain, Shane Watson, was disappointed with the batting display from his team. “In the end we didn’t execute with the new ball. I wouldn’t have done anything different, just execute better at the start and definitely at the end. Unfortunately at the top of the order me and David Warner haven’t been able to bat on deep into the innings – I think that would have made chasing a bit easier. We’ve seen Kieron Pollard, in the IPL and around the world, how hard he hits the ball. We’ll have to revisit our plans to him … It was a beautiful wicket, like those at home. The St Lucia crowd saw a good game from West Indies, but unfortunately not from us” he said.
West Indian Captain, Darren Sammy, on the other hand, was thrilled to have taken the series lead, and said: “With scores from Pollard, Russell and myself, it was the kind of total we could defend. The pitch was fantastic, congratulations to the groundmen and we’re looking forward to the final game. It would be good if we could get a series win.”
With West Indies taking a 2-1 lead in the series with one ODI left to play, Australia will be looking to tie the series with a win, while the West Indies, are hoping to impress their fans with, would be classed as, a morale-boosting series win.