Pollard heroics in vain for Windies
A mature unbeaten hundred from Kieron Pollard was not enough to prevent Australia moving 4-0 ahead in their one-day international series with West Indies.
Michael Clarke’s men eased to a target of 221 with 31 balls unused to record a five-wicket triumph at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Shane Watson built on his match-winning century at Canberra last time out with 76 at the top of the order, although his efforts paled in comparison to those of Pollard, who almost single-handedly gave West Indies something to defend.
The powerful Trinidadian strode to the crease with his side 17 for three after winning the toss, and then watched on from the other end as a trio of partners departed cheaply.
Undeterred, Pollard initially operated with restraint before opening his shoulders in the closing overs to reach 109 not out from 136 deliveries in a total of 220 all out.
Watson ensured Australia made relatively light work of the subsequent run-chase to move to the brink of a series whitewash, but Pollard still earned the match award.
Mitchell Johnson and Ben Cutting shared six wickets for the hosts, with the former chiefly responsible for the Windies’ early struggles.
Johnson accounted for Kieran Powell, Johnson Charles, opening in place of the injured Chris Gayle, and Darren Bravo in an impressive opening spell, before Glenn Maxwell trapped Darren Bravo lbw with the aid of a review.
West Indies soon found themselves in disarray at 55 for six when Cutting had Narsingh Deonarine and Devon Thomas held at second slip in successive overs.
Pollard refused to fall by the wayside, however, and received useful support from Darren Sammy, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine in respective partnerships of 43, 45 and 64.
It was only during the latter stand, with overs running out, that Pollard really put his foot down, striking two sixes to go with his 11 fours.
Tino Best’s run-out in the final over left the centurion stranded and West Indies then found life tough with the ball as Watson carried on where he had left off two days earlier.
Scoring freely all around the wicket, he put on 53 with Aaron Finch and 62 alongside Phil Hughes to put Australia in complete control.
He was eventually caught behind off Best, but there were to be no alarms as Michael Clarke and Adam Voges chipped in with handy scores of 37 and 28.
Voges fell with 23 needed when top-edging a pull at Russell to midwicket, while Best provided Thomas with another catch by inducing an edge from Australia’s skipper with the scores level.
It was later confirmed that Clarke will miss the final ODI in Melbourne on Sunday due to a recurrence of the hamstring trouble that has plagued him in recent months. Watson will lead the team, with Shaun Marsh called up as batting cover.