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Opening batsman Evin Lewis played a lone hand with an unbeaten 55 as the tourists bundled the home side for 152 from 45.1 overs and struck first with Mitchell Starc leading the loss by numbers three for 43.
That effort brought his series wicket-haul to 11, confirming the left-arm pacer as “Man of the Series.”
“My role on the team is to consistently use the pace and swing I have throughout my bouts,” Starc said as he contextualized his performance in the match and the series. “It helps if I have Josh (Hazlewood) on the other side and the spin quality that we have to support as well.”
Fellow new ball bowler Hazlewood was at his stingiest in claiming two for 18, while the trio of spinners Adam Zampa, Ashton Agar and Ashton Turner combined for the other five wickets.
Matthew Wade’s unbeaten 51 (52 balls, two sixes, five fours) led Australia to the goal with nearly 20 overs left. He got good support from Alex Carey (35) and Mitchell Marsh (29) after the West Indies picked the openers early and the slow bowlers, led by Akeal Hosein, threatened to give their team a fighting chance to defend that humble target. .
Still, the “Man of the Match” award did not go to Starc or Wade, but to left-turning all-rounder Agar. After being selected to replace younger brother and pacer Wes in the last eleven on a surface expected to favor the slow bowlers, he replied with figures of two for 31 of his allotted ten overs and then contributed a major 19 that wasn’t out in an unbroken 54th-wicket partnership to side with what could have been a tricky chase.
Batting challenges were the defining features of the match, as illustrated by Lewis’ attempt at the top of the West Indies order when his captain, Kieron Pollard, chose to win the toss for the first time in the series.
Forced to stop hurt at the start of the innings when he threw a ball to his helmet, Lewis returned in the fall of the fifth to avoid an abject capitulation by finishing on 55, not 66 balls with three sixes and five fours.
However, he suffered from a lack of support, with only four others coming in in double digits and none going beyond 20.
It prompted his skipper to give a damning assessment of the field conditions not only for the decisive encounter, but also for the other two games in the series.
“I think it is unacceptable for international cricket,” Pollard said bluntly. “We are not here to make excuses. We know we hit badly, but I think if you look at the scores through the series with two top international teams, I think it was embarrassing. Coming from St. Lucia (where West Indies won the T20 International series 4-1) I think it’s absolutely ridiculous.
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