West Indies followed up a swashbuckling second One-day International hundred for Kieron Pollard with another purposeful effort in the field to grab a 42-run victory over Australia in the fourth Digicel ODI on Friday.
The hosts prevailed in spite of enterprising batting from Brett Lee, whose 59 was the top score, and David Hussey, with 57, as Australia failed to successfully chase a target of 295 in the contest at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.
Kemar Roach formalised the result with 21 balls remaining, when he had Lee caught on the long-on boundary trying to add to the five fours and five sixes he had smashed in his 48 ball innings.
The victory meant that West Indies grabbed an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the five-match Digicel Series, which concludes on Sunday at the same venue.
West Indies lost the first Digicel ODI by 64 runs last Friday at the Arnos Vale Cricket Ground in St. Vincent, where they rebounded to win the second Digicel ODI by five wickets two days later, before earning a tie in the third Digicel ODI three days ago at the same venue.
Pollard swung the match decisively with a spectacular 102 from a mere 70 balls, fuelling a late West Indies surge to 294 for seven from their allocation of 50 overs, after they were sent in to bat on a hard, true pitch.
He crunched five fours and eight sixes, the last of which came off Lee and sailed high over mid-wicket onto the Piton Party Mound to usher him to his milestone.
The damage inflicted by Pollard, affectionately known to teammates as “The Beast”, meant that West Indies plundered 117 from the last 10 overs of their innings.
Several other batsmen got starts for West Indies without carrying on – Adrian Barath stroked 41 and fellow opener Johnson Charles scored 37.
Andre Russell cracked 34 from 32 balls and West Indies captain Darren Sammy struck a 31 not out from a mere 13 balls in a robust finish to the innings for the home team.
Dwayne Bravo set Australia back early, when he had David Warner caught at mid-on for one in the second over, but Peter Forrest joined Shane Watson and they struck the ball with crisp assurance, putting on 53 for the second wicket.
But Sammy had Watson caught at mid-on for 28 in the ninth over and Forrest caught at third man for 24 in the 11th over, wobbling Australia on 62 for three.
West Indies faced stiff resistance, when left-hander Mike Hussey and George Bailey came together to add 49 for the fourth wicket.
Russell scalped both of them – caught behind essaying ill-advised cross-batted strokes – in the space of three balls in the 21st over, leaving Australia 112 for five.
Again, West Indies met defiance from the Aussies, as Matthew Wade came to the crease and put on 67 for the sixth wicket with David Hussey, whose knock contained seven boundaries from 54 balls, threatening to spoil the party for the near capacity crowd.
Kieron Pollard had Wade caught at long-off in the 34th over and Kemar Roach bowled Hussey in the 39th over, leaving Australia to pursue 98 from the last 68 balls of the match.
West Indies found it difficult to put a cork on Lee in the closing overs, as the Aussie speedster unleashed an array of hefty blows, after Roach struck him on the right hand with a “beamer”.
But the Maroon Warriors kept their nerve and wickets at the other end inched them to the finish line.
Earlier, Barath and Charles put on 56 for the first wicket to give West Indies an enterprising start.
Barath, playing his first match of the series, hammered nine fours from just 31 balls and Charles was unusually subdued, striking three fours and a six off 62 balls.
Clint McKay had Barath caught behind in the 11th over and Marlon Samuels spent 41 balls over 11 before he fell in similar fashion off Lee, leaving the Australians 83 for two in the 21st over.
Charles and Darren Bravo were just beginning to get into the thick of things, as the Windies lost two wickets to successive deliveries in the 26th over.
Charles was caught at long-on off Doherty and Dwayne Bravo was struck in front and adjudged lbw – after Australia challenged Indian umpire Shavir Tarapore’s not-out verdict – off the very next ball.
The younger Bravo added 40 with Pollard for the fifth wicket before he was caught at long-off, trying to clear the fielder.
Pollard and Russell then combined in a 94-run, sixth-wicket stand that re-ignited the Windies innings.
Russell hit four fours off just 32 balls, but departed when he was caught at cover, slicing a delivery from Watson in the 47th over.
Pollard duly reached his milestone and when he too, was caught at deep cover, Sammy held no prisoners smashing two sixes and a four off the last three balls, as the over cost 23 runs.
WEST INDIES (maximum 50 overs)
J. Charles c Lee b Doherty 37
A. Barath c wkpr Wade b McKay 41
M. Samuels c wkpr Wade b Lee 11
D.M. Bravo c D. Hussey b Watson 25
D.J. Bravo lbw b Doherty 0
K. Pollard c M. Hussey b Lee 102
A. Russell c Bailey b Watson 34
*D. Sammy not out 31
+C. Baugh not out 0
Extras (lb3, w10) 13
TOTAL (7 wkts) 294
S. Narine, K. Roach did not bat
Fall of wickets: 1-52 (Barath, 10.1 overs); 2-83 (Samuels, 20.6); 3-106 (Charles, 25.2); 4-106 (D.J. Bravo, 25.3); 5-146 (D.M. Bravo, 35.4); 6-240 (Russell, 46.2); 7-278 (Pollard, 49.3)
Bowling: Lee 10-0-72-2 (w2); Hilfenhaus 10-1-43-0 (w5); McKay 10-1-57-1 (w2); *Watson 10-0-55-2 (w1); Doherty 10-1-64-2
AUSTRALIA (target: 295 off 50 overs)
*S. Watson c Roach b *Sammy 28
D. Warner c Narine b D.J. Bravo 1
P. Forrest c Charles b Sammy 24
G. Bailey c wkpr Baugh b Russell 25
M. Hussey c wkpr Baugh b Russell 26
D. Hussey b Roach 57
+M. Wade c Russell b Pollard 15
B. Lee c (sub) Mathurin b Roach 59
C. McKay c Pollard b D.J. Bravo 2
X. Doherty c *Sammy b Narine 1
B. Hilfenhaus not out 0
Extras (lb1, w11, nb2) 14
TOTAL (all out) 252
Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Warner, 1.1 overs); 2-56 (Watson, 8.1); 3-62 (Forrest, 10.1); 4-111 (Bailey, 20.1); 5-112 (M. Hussey, 20.3); 6-179 (Wade, 33.6); 7-196 (D. Hussey, 38.4); 8-235 (McKay, 43.4); 9-250 (Doherty, 45.3)
Bowling: Roach 9.3-0-74-2 (nb1, w3); D.J. Bravo 6-0-47-2 (w5); Narine 10-2-21-1 (w1); *Sammy 9-0-42-2 (nb1); Russell 7-0-34-2 (w1); Samuels 3-0-17-0 (w1); Pollard 2-0-16-1
Result: West Indies won by 42 runs (21 balls remaining)
Series: West Indies lead five-match series 2-1
Man-of-the-Match: K. Pollard (West Indies)
Umpires: G. Brathwaite, S.Tarapore
TV umpire: K. Dharmasena
Match referee: A. Pycroft
Reserve umpire: P. Nero