Woeful Windies crumble to Doherty
Xavier Doherty ran through West Indies’ line-up with four wickets in 13 deliveries as Australia secured a 64-run triumph in the first one-day international of five in St Vincent.
The tourists found runs tricky to come by on a sluggish pitch and were restricted to a modest 204 for eight from 50 overs, a total boosted by 48 from ODI debutant George Bailey.
When the Windies reached 97 for three in reply, they appeared well placed to push for victory, only for left-arm spinner Doherty - who had earlier been clubbed for three sixes in four balls by Marlon Samuels - to instigate a dramatic collapse that saw six wickets fall for the addition of just seven runs.
Home captain Darren Sammy delayed the inevitable - and did harm to Doherty’s final figures - with a counter-attacking 20-ball 35 from number nine, but West Indies were duly dismissed for 140 with more than 17 overs unused.
The result ensures Australia will top the International Cricket Council one-day international rankings on April 1 and receive a cash award of $175,000.
Stand-in Australia skipper Shane Watson made a positive start at the top of the order after electing to bat first, striking four fours en route to 21, yet the run-rate gradually slowed as the new balls lost their hardness.
Number three Peter Forrest faced 64 deliveries for his 26 before being stumped off Samuels, who then had David Warner superbly caught at cover, for 40, by a diving Kieron Pollard.
David Hussey was punished for a lack of footwork when he feathered an edge through to wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh off Kemar Roach to depart for a seven-ball duck.
A partnership of 63 between Michael Hussey and Bailey steadied the ship, but progress remained slow, with off-spinner Sunil Narine conceding just 24 from his 10 overs.
After the elder Hussey had been caught at long-on off Roach, it was Narine who removed Matthew Wade for a golden duck.
Bailey remained, however, and looked set to record a maiden international fifty before falling to Roach in the penultimate over.
The Windies were soon in trouble at the start of their reply. Johnson Charles was caught at third man for 13 on his ODI debut and Kieran Powell mis-cued a pull to mid-on off Brett Lee before Darren Bravo was run out by the veteran paceman.
Samuels and Dwayne Bravo rebuilt and moved to 35 and 32 respectively. Yet things rapidly went awry once the latter had been bowled through the gate by Dan Christian.
Doherty, who finished with 4-49, did much of the damage, dismissing Samuels, Baugh, Andre Russell and Narine in quick succession, while Clint McKay claimed the final wicket when Sammy picked out Christian at cover.
The two teams meet again at the same venue on Sunday and Tuesday, with the final two matches of the series following in St Lucia.