Pollard pulverises Australia
Kieron Pollard struck a remarkable second one-day international century as West Indies moved 2-1 up in the five-match series against Australia courtesy of a 42-run victory in St Lucia.
Coming in with West Indies struggling at 106 for four, Pollard initially played within himself before exploding late on as 149 runs came from the final 15 overs of the first innings.
The all-rounder’s tour de force led the hosts to an imposing total of 294 for seven - a score that also owed much to outstanding cameos from Andre Russell and Darren Sammy.
That proved too much for Australia, for whom David Hussey and Brett Lee struck half-centuries. The tourists now need to win the final encounter on Sunday to stave off defeat in the rubber.
Having been asked to bat, West Indies made a fine start as Adrian Barath dominated a 56-run opening stand with Johnson Charles, enjoying particular success through the off side.
He eventually fell for 41, caught behind by Matthew Wade off Clint McKay, at which point the hosts’ scoring rate dropped considerably as Charles and Marlon Samuels struggled to impose themselves.
The latter provided wicketkeeper Wade with another catch to depart for 11, after which Charles began to thrive having initially scored 10 from his first 30 balls.
However, just as he appeared to be getting into full flow, the opener picked out Lee at long-on off Xavier Doherty, who trapped Dwayne Bravo leg before with the next delivery.
Pollard and Darren Bravo rebuilt, mixing good running with the odd boundary before the latter, attempting to drive, skied Shane Watson to David Hussey.
Any Australian joy was shortlived, though, with the left-hander’s departure merely heralding the fireworks that were to come.
Indeed, Pollard - well supported by Russell’s 32-ball 34 - set about striking the Australian attack to all parts, his power being best illustrated by the fact some of his eight sixes were not properly timed.
That claim could not be made about his final and decisive one, a pull over midwicket off Lee in the final over which brought up a 69-ball hundred.
Pollard, dropped on 77 by Doherty, fell off the next delivery for 102 - Mike Hussey taking a high catch at deep cover - but Sammy finished off the assault, hitting 16 runs off the final three balls to finish unbeaten on 31 from 13.
Pursuing 295, Australia began badly as David Warner’s leading edge gave Sunil Narine an easy catch off Dwayne Bravo in the second over.
Watson was showing some fluency - epitomised by a couple of early maximums - but, having been dropped by Carlton Baugh, he top-edged a pull off Sammy and Kemar Roach took the catch.
Sammy then accounted for Peter Forrest, but Mike Hussey and George Bailey rebuilt - only for Russell’s double strike to further derail Australia.
The all-rounder had both caught behind - the former fell for 25, one less than the latter managed - to leave the tourists 112 for five.
Another repair job was then undertaken by David Hussey and Wade, who shared a 67-run stand prior to the latter skying Pollard to Russell at long-on.
David Hussey was then bowled by Roach for a 54-ball 57 and, despite Lee’s superb 59 from 48 balls, West Indies sealed victory by dismissing Australia for 252.