Australia moved to the top of the tri-series table with their win over South Africa at Warner Park on Saturday, and could go a long way in securing a place in the final if they follow up with another victory over West Indies on Monday. When the two teams met in Guyana, West Indies capitulated to Australia’s spinners and were bowled out for 116, but in St Kitts, the conditions are quite different and high-scoring contests the norm. So it was a blow that their most in-form batsman David Warner was ruled out as a result of a fracture to his left index finger.
Australia showed on Saturday that reverse swing can also play an important role at the venue, where Mitchell Starc’s form was ominous for his opponents for the rest of the series. He moved the ball just enough to trouble the South Africans and finished with 3 for 43, while
Josh Hazlewood also got the ball to tail in.
But the short boundaries will encourage the West Indian batsmen to play their shots – as if they need any encouragement – and if they can make a strong start, they will fancy their chances of joining Australia on two wins for the series. They just need to eliminate the “horrible shots” in the words of their captain Jason Holder that plagued them in the previous game.
The last ODI the West Indies played at Warner Park was a memorable one for two of their batsmen – Denesh Ramdin, who slammed 169, and Darren Bravo, who made 124 in a 91-run win over Bangladesh
Sunil Narine certainly enjoyed the conditions in Guyana, where he finished with 8 for 63 in two matches. The move to St Kitts might theoretically be in favour of the fast bowlers, but Narine has enjoyed bowling there in the past and has 10 wickets at 10.60 from four ODIs. Australia’s batsmen will need to be on their game to prevent Narine from turning it around.
Second to Narine on the bowling charts in this series is Adam Zampa who has seven wickets at 16.28. Zampa was preferred to Nathan Lyon and Glenn Maxwell as Australia’s only spinner for Saturday’s match. He has shown tremendous poise in his first few months as an international cricketer and did so again while bowling late in South Africa’s unsuccessful chase.
On Saturday, the pitch was hard and offered something for the fast bowlers early, before slowing up a little later in the first innings. There was reverse swing available for Australia’s bowlers as well. The short boundaries at Warner Park always give batsmen the chance to post big totals.
West Indies squad: Jason Holder (Captain), Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Shannon Gabriel, Sunil Narine, Ashley Nurse, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor.
Australia: Steven Smith (capt), David Warner, George Bailey, Scott Boland, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), Adam Zampa.