Lara and Gayle put Australia to the sword
by AFP

Ground:Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur
Scorecard:Australia v West Indies
Player:DJ Bravo, BC Lara, CH Gayle, ML Hayden, SM Katich, MEK Hussey, BJ Haddin, DJ Bravo, IDR Bradshaw, B Lee
Event:DLF Cup 2006/07

DateLine: 18th September 2006


Brian Lara and Chris Gayle put Australia to the sword on Monday with a controlled display of batting that handed the West Indies a three wicket victory in their one-day DLF Cup match here.


Their heroics cancelled out a gutsy maiden one-day century by Australia's stand-in captain Michael Hussey whose unbeaten 109 gave his side a defendable 272-6.


But it was a nailbiting climax as the West Indies lost four wickets for 13 runs late in the innings before clawing their way into the final next Sunday after two wins in three games.


Lara (87) and Gayle (79) put together a 151-run partnership built on some sloppy Australian bowling, particularly by Stuart Clark who was hit for 87 from seven overs, as they reached their target in 47.2 overs.


"There were a few hiccups in the batting department and we still need to work on that but hopefully more practice wiil help," said Lara.


"We knew what we had to do and we accelerated when we needed to. It was important for our confidence that we got to the final."


Australia sorely missed Mitchell Johnson, the explosive young fast bowler who demolished India on Saturday but who was one of three Australians sent home because their squad was considered too big.


Glenn McGrath was also rested after just two games on his comeback trail.


It left Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken to spearhead the attack, with Clark, Shane Watson and Dan Cullen in support, but they gave away 33 extras which Hussey blamed for the loss.


"We let them off the hook with too many sundries," he said. "That is where we lost the game. It's really disappointing."


The West Indies didn't get the start they wanted with Shivnarine Chanderpaul falling for nought to Lee. Ramnaresh Sarwan whacked a rapid 25 before he was caught behind by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin off Bracken.


It brought Lara into the action and he was happy to be a bystander as Gayle unleashed his fury against a hapless Clark in the 15th over, savaging him for 20 runs.


The introduction of Watson and Andrew Symomds stemmed the flow but didn't prevent Gayle bringing up his 27th one-day 50, and his second in the tournament, with a front-foot drive.


And the reintroduction of Clark saw the runs come again -- he bowled one 11-ball over that cost 23 runs.


Gayle finally went pulling a short one through midwicket off Watson where it was safely gathered by Hussey, ending an attractive innings that included three sixes and seven fours.


Lara reached his 60th limited overs 50 with a scampered single off Cullen but fell 13 short of his first century in 18 months when he miscued an attempted pull shot off Lee and found Hussey's safe hands.


The fall of Wavell Hinds, Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Smith in quick succession caused some nerves to fray before Dwyane Bravo and Carlton Baugh ensured the West Indies a second victory from three games here.


Lee finished with 3-26.


Earlier, Hussey smashed a ton, coming to the crease with Australia struggling on 64-4 off 18 overs to pilot his side to a respectable score.


He was aided by Haddin, who contributed a quick-fire 70 -- also a career-best -- as they let rip in a partnership worth 166, which was Australia's highest ever sixth wicket stand.


The other bright spark for Australia was Matthew Hayden, who scored 49 after a year away from the international one-day game.


Australia has been fiddling with its team selection ahead of the Champions Trophy and Ricky Ponting decided to rest. Hussey won the toss and elected to bat.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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