Australia annihilate West Indies in first ODI

Perth  :  A lethargic West Indies were bowled out for their lowest ever One-Day International score against Australia as they made a calamitous start to the five-match series with a nine-wicket rout Friday.

Winning the toss and strangely opting to bat first at the WACA Ground here, the tourists were rolled over in seamer friendly conditions for 70 off 23.5 overs, their third lowest score in ODIs.

Captain Darren Sammy top scored with 16 to be one of only three batsmen in double figures. Darren Bravo and opener Kieran Powell both made 11.

The experienced Ramnaresh Sarwan, seasoned all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and big-hitting Kieron Pollard were removed without scoring by left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc who destroyed the innings with five for 20.

He was supported by right-arm pacer Clint McKay who picked up three for 10 and debutant left-arm seamer James Faulkner who finished with two for 14.

In reply, Glenn Maxwell blasted 51 not out off 35 balls as Australia raced to their target off just 9.2 overs, to snatch a 1-0 lead in the series.

There were ominous signs from the outset when left-handed openers Powell and Chris Gayle (4) both struggled against prodigious movement generated by the new ball pair of Starc and McKay.

Gayle never suggested permanence and was first to fall with the score on 14 in the fifth over.

After pulling McKay to the mid-wicket boundary for his only four, he edged one that bounced and moved away two balls later for Aaron Finch to take an acrobatic catch diving in front of captain Michael Clarke at first slip.

Powell eventually succumbed to a catch at first slip by Clarke, prodding outside off-stump at Starc, off the second ball of the next over at 18 for two.

Sarwan’s first international innings in over a year-and-a-half lasted just three balls as Starc bowled him through the gate with a big in-swinging full length delivery in the same over at 19 for three.

And with no runs added an over later, Dwayne Bravo fell to a catch at forward short leg.

When Devon Thomas steered the fifth ball of Faulkner’s first over to Clarke at first slip and Darren Bravo fell to the same combination an over later, the West Indies were slumping at 39 for seven in the 13th over and quickly heading towards their lowest ever score in ODIs.

The end came swiftly. Left-hander Narine played and missed the first five balls of McKay’s next over before edging the last through to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.

Debutant Jason Holder was bowled all over the shop to provide Starc with only his second career five-wicket haul and best figures in ODIs.

Maxwell then set the tone for Australia’s reply by ripping into fast bowler Kemar Roach, blasting three fours and six as the first over went for 18 runs.

He moved into high gear with another four and a six off Roach’s next over that cost 11 runs, en route to counting nine fours and two sixes overall.

Holder claimed his first international wicket when he had Finch caught behind on review, cutting at a short delivery at 39 for one in the fourth over but by then there was absolutely no doubt about the result.