Australia level series despite Sammy heroics

West Indies' hopes of a first series win over Australia in 17 years were shattered on Sunday when the tourists clinched a 30-run victory in a thrilling fifth and final one-dayer.

Updated: March 26, 2012 09:57 IST
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Gros Islet, Saint Lucia: West Indies' hopes of a first series win over Australia in 17 years were shattered on Sunday when the tourists clinched a 30-run victory in a thrilling fifth and final one-dayer.

Chasing a victory target of 282, West Indies came agonisingly close before Australia won to level the series 2-2 with one tie.

From a seemingly hopeless position of 118 for seven, skipper Darren Sammy and all-rounder Andre Russell carved out a record eighth-wicket partnership of 101 off just 59 balls to take their team to 219 for eight with nine overs left.

Sammy, batting at nine, raced to 50 off just 20 balls and was eventually last man out having hit a blistering 84 off 50 deliveries with six boundaries and six sixes.

Russell made 41 off 33 balls before he was out lbw to Xavier Doherty, the Australians succeeding with a review after the batsman had been given not out.

Once that partnership was broken, the Australians were virtually home.

West Indies got off to a nightmare start, losing opener Johnson Charles and Marlon Samuels, who were both dismissed for ducks by a fired-up Brett Lee in the first and third overs.

Darren Bravo made just three off 21 balls when he was caught behind by Matthew Wade off Clint McKay with Dwayne Bravo becoming the fourth man out after a lazy prod to mid-off off Shane Watson ended his brief cameo of 19 from 22 balls.

At the halfway stage of their run chase, West Indies were 82 for five after opener Adrian Barath had been dismissed off slow bowler Xavier Doherty.

That left them requiring a run rate of eight an over and the situation got worse when Carlton Baugh was caught in the deep by Ben Hilfenhaus, who collided with Wade, to give Lee his third victim.

Kieron Pollard, who blasted a match-winning century in Friday's win that had given West Indies a 2-1 lead, was then caught by Mike Hussey off Watson in the 32nd over having hit two sixes in a 40-ball 33.

That was the cue for Sammy's and Russell's pyrotechnics which almost took them to a famous win.

Lee finished with the best figures of three for 42 off nine overs.

Australia made 281 for nine, their highest score of the series, after being put into bat.

Skipper Watson, with 66 off 89 balls, and fellow opener Warner, who crashed 69 off 61 balls, with 10 fours and a six, put on 118 for the first wicket by the 20th over as the tourists looked on course for a 300-plus total.

West Indies then slowed the rate after the openers had departed and Australia took the unusual decision to promote Lee up the order after the veteran had hit a breezy, career-best 59 on Friday.

Lee replaced George Bailey, who had made 19, but lasted just 10 balls either side of a rain delay before he was bowled by off-spinner Sunil Narine.

Forrest, with 53, was the fifth man out, caught by Kemar Roach off Andre Russell with the score at 241 in the 45th over.

David Hussey was out next ball when he fended off a quick, steep delivery from Russell to be caught behind for nought before Wade prevented becoming a hat-trick victim.

Wade and Mike Hussey smashed Russell for 21 runs off the seamer's last over, the 49th of the innings, but the bowler had the satisfaction of seeing Hussey caught in the deep off his last delivery.

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