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  • Australia v West Indies, 1st ODI, Perth

Australia rout West Indies

Daniel Brettig
February 1, 2013 « Etim: Renee Forte gets punished at Wembley Arena | Chartbeat test »
Australia 71 for 1 (Maxwell 51*) beat West Indies 70 (Starc 5-20, McKay 3-10) by 9 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mitchell Starc swung the ball venomously late © Getty Images
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Twenty years ago, almost to the day, Allan Border won the toss and batted before Curtly Ambrose obliterated Australia at the WACA ground in a spell of 7 for 1. Whirring the ball down with speed and fiendish late swing, Mitchell Starc paid homage by splintering the West Indies in a burst of 4 for 1 to set up a facile nine-wicket victory, achieved with all of 244 balls to spare.

This time it was the touring captain Darren Sammy who paid a heavy price for choosing to bat first on a lively surface. Australia's pitiful 74 against Sri Lanka at the Gabba is no longer the lowest score of the limited overs summer, the West Indies total of 70 only reached after some late order resistance following an earlier free-fall to 19 for 5. It was the most meagre total in all ODIs between the two countries, extras (17) providing the top score.

Ever the tactical opportunist, Australia's captain Michael Clarke promoted Glenn Maxwell to open, and his supercharged half century ensured the target was gobbled up inside 10 overs. Maxwell crashed 18 from Kemar Roach's first over, and may find himself opening again after such a star-turn. In all, only 33.1 overs were required to complete the match.

Starc finished with 5 for 20, and was given splendid support by Clint McKay and James Faulkner. The two new balls ensured there was movement through there air and off the pitch for the entirety of the West Indian innings, as a succession of batsmen were either bowled or offered catching practice to a well-stocked slips cordon.

Sammy's choice to bat first took his opposite number Clarke by surprise, after Australia had stacked their team with pace bowlers and planned to bowl if successful at the toss. The pitch carried a tinge of grass that suggested it would be at its fastest and most lively.

Chris Gayle and Kieran Powell were soon pushing hopefully at deliveries that seamed and swung away from them at pace, though it was not until the fifth over that a wicket fell. Gayle's recent ODI scores have been underwhelming, but it took a fine ball from McKay to seam across him and take the shoulder of the bat for a catch in the slips cordon.

At the other end Starc was swerving the ball late and with tremendous control, and the ball after Powell drove him to the cover fence began a sequence of destruction that would plainly show that there are few bowlers more dangerous than the fast left-armer moving the ball through the air.

Powell pushed tentatively at a ball slightly shorter than the one he had struck to the fence and offered a catch to Clarke at slip. Ramnaresh Sarwan, in his first international since 2011, was late and crooked on a ball that hooped back into him to spread-eagle the stumps.

Noting the swing on offer, Clarke brought Phillip Hughes in to short leg, and Dwayne Bravo obliged by squeezing a catch to the man just posted. Kieron Pollard's first ball was millimetres away from finding him LBW, and his second arrived too soon for a hesitant push that served only to deflect the ball onto leg stump. Starc had taken 4 for 1 in seven balls.

At 19 for 5, the script for the innings had been largely written, and the remainder could only add nuisance runs as the ball continued to zip about. Faulkner claimed a pair of wickets on debut with a disciplined line, while McKay followed up his earlier incision by dismissing Sammy, who offered only token resistance.

The West Indies plight was best epitomised by Sunil Narine, who groped haplessly at the first five balls of a McKay over before edging the final one into Matthew Wade's gloves. Starc was brought back by Clarke to claim the final wicket, another inswinger plucking out Jason Holder's leg stump.

Maxwell's promotion showed Australia were keen on a quick finish, and his domineering approach worked brilliantly in a scenario where instinct and freedom was rewarded over thoughtful consideration. Some of his shots were bizarre, but most were well struck, leaving Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja verymuch in his wake. Sammy will think twice before batting first again.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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