5-match ODI series
Australia 5-0 West Indies
Strange things have happened in world cricket over the last few months. In short, order has been restored. Somewhat.
While the women cricket teams demonstrate that the mid-2000s are well and truly back with Australia steamrolling through opposition teams to reach the final, their male counterparts have brushed aside an inconsistent summer to stamp their authority on their weakest form of the game. A random ODI series involving an up-and-coming (for 10 years) West Indian side meant that the Australians could gather some steam and form before hitting the Indian shores to continue from where they left off after a 4-0 thrashing in 2011-12.
End Of Days
And the Australians did it in style, humiliating the T20 World Champions in a manner that has become familiar to most Caribbean fans over the last 15 years. West Indian sides have never really challenged Australian sides after 1995, when the baton of domination was handed from one team to the other. Though their test sides have been mismatched for years now, their limited-over squads were expected to be as evenly matched as possible this time.
Australia were coming off a sapping home ODI series loss to Sri Lanka, their first such bilateral series loss ever. Their scratchiness exceeded their inspired moments of brilliance over those 5 games, and the selectors were to learn, the hard way, the sheer Buchananisque senselessness behind their much-hyped rotation policy. Man to man, the West Indian team even looked stronger on paper- with stars like Gayle, Pollard, Sarwan (remember?), both the Bravos, Sammy, Russell, Narine and Roach on one sheet. This was an IPL team’s wet dream, but unfortunately for this West Indian side- as it has so often been over the years- this was not a T20 tournament. This was not the IPL.
These big names somehow conspired to lose not only a series, but every single game of the series. 5-0 at the end seemed, in hindsight, like a foregone conclusion- but nobody could have predicted which side it would be. Relatively unknown international names like Hughes, Maxwell, Bailey, Voges combined with the big names like Warner, Watson, Haddin and Johnson to annihilate a competitive West Indian side into ashes.
Gayle failed every single game, Sarwan was virtually unrecognizable- and to make things more bizarre, it was Johnson Charles and Keiron Pollard, the least likely names on bouncy pitches, to walk away with centuries to their names. But for the hosts, it was Watson- coming back from injury- who powered them to starts that made them favorites from the word go. His gorgeously brutal century in the third game clinched the series for the Aussies, and after that, even from the most hopeless situations (in the 5th game), the most unlikeliest of names stepped up and rubbed salt into West Indian wounds. Adam Voges scored a scorching century with Australia at 4-82 at one stage, and that was it.
KP2 in the sky
Apart from Finch, every Aussie batsman backed up their phenomenal bowling attack. Maxwell and Finch lit up the field, as did the West Indians (Pollard in particular), but in the end- rather than one BIG win and a few losses- the Aussies did just enough every single game to win by moderate margins…and put enough fear in the hearts of Indian selectors, forcing them to make bizarre selections to a Test squad already on the verge of falling apart.