• Australia v West Indies, 4th ODI, Sydney

West Indies stay winless despite Pollard ton

The Report by Daniel Brettig at the SCG
February 8, 2013 « Mancini: City are better than United | Chartbeat test »
Australia 221 for 5 (Watson 76) beat West Indies 220 (Pollard 109*, Johnson 3-36, Cutting 3-45) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The West Indies innings was a salvage operation for Kieron Pollard, but it wasn't enough to prevent another defeat © AFP
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Shane Watson's life without bowling is so far turning out to be a life without worries - for him, and for Australia. Another fluent innings from Watson set the hosts on the path to a leisurely five-wicket victory over the West Indies at the SCG, thus extending the series ledger to 4-0 in favour of Michael Clarke's team as they begin to be fragmented by departures for the imminent tour of India.

Forming important early stands with Aaron Finch and Phillip Hughes, Watson showed there was little bowling joy to be found in a pitch on which the visitors earlier slipped to 55 for 6. Kieron Pollard's admirable rearguard had dragged the visitors' tally to 220 and at least ensured the lights would be required before 18,161 spectators watched Australia strolling home with 31 balls to spare.

Watson played handsome strokes all around the ground, while also absorbing a teasing spell from Sunil Narine, but was given a major helping of good fortune on 32 when wicketkeeper Devon Thomas dropped the sort of chance any gloveman would have been embarrassed to turf. The West Indies were again their own worst enemies when Narsingh Deonarine spurned a chance to run out Hughes, taking the ball but disturbing the stumps with his arm as he did so.

Pollard's century notwithstanding, Australia's target had been kept well within reach by Mitchell Johnson, who had done his best impression of the rested Mitchell Starc to zip through the visitors' batting. None of the West Indian top four reached double figures, leaving Pollard attempting to cobble some kind of total together in a match rendered dead by Australia's completion of an unassailable 3-0 margin on Wednesday night in Canberra.

Supported by Ben Cutting, Clint McKay and a tidy Glenn Maxwell, Johnson grabbed three early wickets to turn the West Indies innings into a salvage operation for Pollard after their captain Darren Sammy had little hesitation batting first on a dry, hard surface that offered bounce.

Finch and Watson began the chase with good sense, striding to a second half-century opening stand in as many innings before Finch was pinned lbw by Narine. Reviewing the decision, Finch discovered the ball was straight enough and clipping the top of the stumps, sending him on his way for another total that indicated more promise than substance.

Hughes was soon playing in Watson's slipstream, the target steadily reduced, but he did not exploit the missed run out, gloving an attempted paddle sweep to slip after struggling to deal with Narine's spin, which from the outset of the innings had seemed West Indies' lone hope of inducing a rush of wickets.

Watson prevented this however, and had left the middle order a task far from taxing by the time Thomas did hang onto a chance, a swift delivery from Tino Best taking bat handle or glove. The remainder of the chase was more comfortable than memorable, though Matthew Wade roused the crowd by hoicking his first ball - a free-hit from Andrew Russell - into the Members Stand, and the win was momentarily delayed when Clarke gloved Best behind with only one run required.

It had seemed a useful toss for Sammy to win on a pristine afternoon, but Johnson found enough new ball swing to bring back the tourists' repressed memories of being shot down for 70 at the WACA ground. In the fourth over Johnson Charles was utterly defeated by a delivery bending back late to pluck out his off stump. McKay was giving nothing away at the other end, allowing Johnson to attack, and Kieran Powell fell victim to another swinging ball before Darren Bravo failed to ride the bounce.

Dwayne Bravo was given lbw on referral when Maxwell straightened an off break into him, then Cutting extracted useful bounce on his arrival to the bowling crease that accounted for Deonarine and Thomas, the latter sent on his way after the third umpire reviewed Finch's low catch.

At that point another pre-dinner finish beckoned, but Pollard provided a reminder of the batting skill that drove him to a century against the same opponents in St Lucia last year. He did so with greater restraint than has usually been characteristic in forming stands of 35 with Andre Russell and 64 with Narine.

Pollard waited until his 115th delivery to swing for the fences, crashing James Faulkner's slower ball over wide long-on, and he added another off McKay before jumping for joy upon reaching three figures. Well as he played, the final tally was never likely to be enough. Watson's authority made that certain.

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

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