Half-centuries from Nicholas Pooran and Jason Holder guided the West Indies to a series-levelling four-wicket win the second One-Day International of the three-match series against Australia at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Saturday. Replying to the visitors’ modest total of 187 all out, the home side slipped to 72 for five before Pooran, who earned the “Man of the Match” award for his unbeaten 59, and former captain Holder, who contributed an invaluable 52, put on 93 for the seventh wicket to tilt the balance of the match decisively in their team’s favour.
They reached the target at 191 for six with 12 overs to spare. This result sets up the final match on Monday at the same venue as the series decider.
Earlier the Australians were required to engineer their own recovery from an even more desperate situation.
With the decision to bat first made on Thursday before the match was suspended due to a positive Covid-19 test by a non-playing member of the West Indies staff, Australia slumped to 45 for six as spinner Akeal Hosein snared three quick wickets following the early successes of the Caribbean seamers.
Matthew Wade then found a resilient partner in Mitchell Starc in putting on 51 for the seventh wicket before Adam Zampa was overshadowed by number ten Wes Agar as they put on 59 for the ninth wicket.
Agar, left out of the original eleven for the match but only included after Josh Hazlewood complained of a calf strain aggravated by being in isolation in his hotel room for 48 hours due to the Covid-19 scare, top-scored with an entertaining 41 while Wade and Zampa contributed 36 runs apiece.
Starc warmed up for his work with the new ball with a useful innings of 19 and then reinforced his ever-present threat to a fragile West Indies top order by dismissing Evin Lewis and Darren Bravo in quick succession. Spinners Adam Zampa and Ashton Turner then combined for three wickets and a complete capitulation, similar to the first match of the series, seemed inevitable.
But Pooran, who was dropped twice, and Holder made the most of the good fortune and eventually wrested the initiative from Alex Carey’s team.
“This was all about putting in the hard work,” said Pooran in reflecting on his own contribution to the result. “We know it is never easy against a team like Australia and while we didn’t help our own cause with some of our earlier batting, I really want to credit the support of Jason in helping to take us over the line.”
For Carey, it was a case of leaving his bowlers with too much work to do.
“We did well to come back from the situation we were in earlier in the match and that’s something we are going to have to look at heading into the final match,” he acknowledged. “It should make for a really great occasion after that Covid scare that the series now comes down to a virtual final.”
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