Magic Marsh slays Windies
Tourists snatch the initiative after comfortable win
By Joe Drabble. Last Updated: 24/06/08 11:00pm
Marsh: Match-winning 81
First One Day International
Australia 273-8 Innings Complete (S E Marsh 81, B J Haddin 50) v West Indies 189 (N W Bracken 4-32)
Australia beat West Indies by 84 runs
Debutant Shaun Marsh was the Australia hero as his fine 81 helped the tourists back to the top of the ICC one-day rankings with a comfortable 84-run win against West Indies in St Vincent.
Marsh continued the excellent form he displayed during the Indian Premier League, where he was the leading run scorer, striking seven fours and a six in his 97-ball innings.
Brad Haddin (50) and Michael Hussey (44) also added a valuable 91-run stand for the fifth wicket, after a mid-innings stumble, to help post 273-8.
In reply the Windies lost three early wickets to set them on the back foot and they never fully recovered in the face of some tight bowling to be bowled out for 189 from 39.5 overs.
The victory for Australia lifts the reigning three-time world champions above South Africa at the top of the ICC's ODI rankings.
Newly-formulated opening pair, Marsh and Shane Watson put on 75 for the first wicket before the Queenslander was caught lbw shuffling across the crease by Bravo for a breezy 31 from 27 balls.
Captain Ricky Ponting (six from 20 balls) and his deputy Michael Clarke (nine from 23 balls) then fell cheaply trying to engineer shots off Jerome Taylor and Darren Sammy respectively.
Marsh became just the eighth Australian to bring up 50 on debut when he crunched Dwayne Bravo through the covers, a shot only bettered by a glorious pull over the square leg boundary from the same bowler earlier in his innings.
But when Marsh was fooled into offering a simple catch to Chris Gayle at cover from a Sammy slower ball the Australians looked in some trouble at 140-4.
Hussey led the recovery mission in a risk-free 91-run stand with Haddin before the Australia gloveman deservedly reached his half-century from as many balls before he was caught in the deep by Kieron Pollard off the bowling of Sulieman Benn.
Hussey then fell to the same combination following a patient 58-ball innings, that contained just one boundary, as he looked to up the tempo.
Brett Lee (12 not out) provided the late fireworks, including a hefty six over midwicket, to cap a solid batting display.
In reply the West Indies' innings failed to gather any momentum after Lee had dismissed the wounded Xavier Marshall (6) and fellow opener Gayle had perished leg before to Nathan Bracken for 20.
Just two balls later Lee had Ramnaresh Sarwan (2) caught by Hussey at slip leaving the Windies 29-3 and facing an uphill task.
Bravo and debutant Andre Fletcher steadied the ship with a stand of 51, however, it came in slow time as the Australian bowlers maintained a tight line. Bravo eventually succumbed to the tourists' accuracy when he was out lbw to Clarke for 33.
Fletcher (26) then carelessly departed when he failed to recover his ground after defending a Cameron White delivery, allowing wicket-keeper Haddin enough time to pick up the ball and run him out with a neat piece of work.
The wickets continued to fall at regular intervals as the Windies never looked like keeping up with the required rate on a slow wicket at Arnos Vale.
Bracken, who was making his return following knee surgery in March, claimed the final wicket when Sulieman Benn (7) was caught at long-on by Clarke. Bracken claimed match-best figures of 4-31.
The second game in the five-match series will be played at St George's in Grenada on Friday.