BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Composed half-centuries from Nicholas Pooran and Jason Holder helped West Indies produce a gallant fightback, as the home side beat Australia by four wickets in Saturday’s second Day/night One-Day International to set up a series decider on Monday.
Asked to chase a modest 188 of their 50 overs, West Indies were in the doldrums at 72 for five in the 15th over before Pooran struck an unbeaten 59 and Holder, 52, to pull the innings around and put their side over the line at Kensington Oval.
Left-hander Pooran lashed two fours and two sixes off 75 deliveries to claim Man-of-the-Match honours while Holder counted five fours and a six in his 69-ball innings.
Together, the pair added 93 for the sixth wicket to deny Australia, after left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc (3-26) had again wrecked the innings for the second straight game.
Australia had earlier done well to reach their 187 all out in the 48th over, after their innings lay in ruins at 45 for six in the 13th over, due mainly to three-wicket hauls from left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein (3-30) and fast bowler Alzarri Joseph (3-39).
However, Wes Agar top-scored with 41 from 36 deliveries while Matthew Wade and Adam Zampa both chipped in with 36 to revive the inning in critical lower-order partnerships.
Despite the win, captain Kieron Pollard said West Indies had made life difficult for themselves and needed to improve.
“[It’s] pleasing to win, obviously, but to say I’m overall pleased with our performance throughout the entire game, I think we have some work to do,” Pollard said afterwards.
“Australia were [45 for six] and getting to , we didn’t put our foot on the X like we should have done and gave them opportunities to come into the game.
“Then our batters didn’t make it easy. It seems like we don’t like to do things the easy way. I thought 120 should have been the total.”
Stand-in captain Alex Carey praised his side’s fightback but said the total had not been sufficient enough.
“It doesn’t help when you’re five [wickets] down for not a lot. Wade and the bowlers did a great job to get us to a total,” he said.
“We were back in the game, we took some early wickets again and the belief was definitely there. We created opportunities and we were in the game in that back end.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite close it out and it proves we were 20 or 30 short at least.”
With their top order having folded spectacularly, Australia was lifted first by Wade who inspired a 51-run, seventh-wicket stand with Starc (19) and a 32-run, eighth-wicket partnership with Zampa.
When Wade lofted a Joseph half-volley head height to Pooran at cover in the 39th over, Agar punched three fours and two sixes and Zampa, four fours, in a 59-run, ninth-wicket partnership to eke out precious runs at the end.
In reply, West Indies lost Evin Lewis for one and left-hander Darren Bravo for a first-ball ‘duck’ to successive deliveries in the third over from Starc.
Lewis played across a full-length delivery and was lbw with ten runs on the board while Bravo played down the wrong line and lost his off-stump.
Opener Shai Hope made 38 from 43 delivered with half-dozen fours, posting 36 for the third wicket with Jason Mohammed (11) before three wickets tumbled for 26 runs, to leave West Indies on the ropes.
However, Pooran rode his luck, dropped on 26 and then again on 49, to bring up his eighth ODI fifty and pass 1 000 runs in the format while Holder, given out lbw on 43 but reprieved by DRS, notched his tenth half-century in the 34th over.
By the time Holder was lbw to a full length one from Starc in the 35th, West Indies still needed 23 runs for victory but Pooran remained steadfast.
AUSTRALIA 187 off 47.1 overs (Wes Agar 41, Adam Zampa 36, Matthew Wade 36; Akeal Hosein 3-30, Alzarri Joseph 3-39)
WEST INDIES 191 for six off 38 overs (Nicholas Pooran 59 not out, Jason Holder 52, Shai Hope 38; Mitchell Starc 3-26, Adam Zampa 2-43)
Result: West Indies won by four wickets.
Series: Three-match series tied 1-1.
Man-of-the-Match: Nicholas Pooran.
Umpires: J Wilson, N Duguid; TV – G Brathwaite.