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Australia vs West Indies: Starc, Coulter-Nile Headline Australia's 15-run Win at Nottingham

It was vintage Mitchell Starc on display as he bowled with pace, venom and accuracy returning with figures of 5/46 to rattle West Indies and help Australia post a comfortable 15-run win at Nottingham on Thursday.

Cricketnext Staff |June 7, 2019, 8:50 AM IST
Australia vs West Indies: Starc, Coulter-Nile Headline Australia's 15-run Win at Nottingham

It was vintage Mitchell Starc on display as he bowled with pace, venom and accuracy returning with figures of 5/46 to rattle West Indies and help Australia post a comfortable 15-run win at Nottingham on Thursday.

Nathan Coulter-Nile's 60-ball 92 backed up by Steve Smith's half-century saw Australia recover from a precarious 79/5 and post a formidable 288 all out in 49 overs. West Indies, aided by fifties from Shai Hope and Jason Holder were in the chase throughout but were eventually undone by Starc's brilliance as they were restricted to 273/9.

Electing to field first on a surface where runs have historically flowed, Oshane Thomas did not have the most auspicious of starts conceding 10 runs in his first over. But there was enough nip off the surface from the outset and once the West Indies bowlers found their areas, they became a different kettle of fish.

Thomas pulled his length back a bit and was rewarded with the wicket of Aaron Finch right away. The Australian captain, not moving his feet enough was caught on the crease and could only edge a back of a length delivery to Hope for 6.

Usman Khawaja, who had to retire hurt against the same opposition in a practice game late last month got a nasty welcome to the batting crease courtesy Thomas who smashed a snorter into his helmet grille. It became clear Khawaja wasn't getting anything in his half thereon.

At the other end, Sheldon Cottrell worked out David Warner (13) setting him up beautifully. He banged one short pushing the opener on the backfoot before slipping a fullish length delivery that Warner could only guide to Shimron Hetmyer at point.

(Reuters) (Reuters)

Two overs later, Khawaja, who was all at sea against the short bowling charged out to Andre Russell the moment he saw a delivery fractionally pitched up but could only get a fine nick being to Hope who completed a splendid catch diving to his left leaving Australia 36/3. That became 38/4 when Glenn Maxwell too succumbed to a bouncer giving Cottrell his second wicket of the innings and Hope his third catch.

Marcus Stoinis hit four fours in his brief innings of 19 before he too departed depositing an almost nothing delivery from Holder straight into the hands of Nicholas Pooran at deep square leg with the scoreboard reading 79/5.

Smith decided to put his foot down and showed to the world what the sport was missing for the last one year. While the other batsmen were all hopping about, Smith looked assured every step of the way. He found an able ally in Alex Carey, and the duo stitched a 68-run stand for the sixth wicket. Just when it seemed the two would take their side to safer shores, Carey departed edging Russell behind for 45 which included seven fours.

At that stage reaching even 200 looked like a task but Coulter-Nile came in and within a span of a few overs changed the total complexion of the game. He was initially troubled against the short ball but once set, he took on it head on and carted the West Indies bowlers to all parts of the ground.

Smith too found the occasional boundary and soon reached a well-deserved half-century with a four down to fine leg. Coulter-Nile too racked up his fifty, his first for Australia, off 40 balls and celebrated it with a massive six over long on.

The moment of the match though came in the 45th over. Smith, having collected a four off the first ball nailed a flick and the ball looked like sailing over the deep square leg fence with ease. But, Cottrell who was stationed at fine leg, ran to his left, leaped, caught the ball with one hand, kept himself inside the boundary and on realizing the momentum was taking him over, threw the ball in the air and fetched it to complete a fine take. Was the catch better than Ben Stokes took earlier? Who knows, but it was certainly one of the better ones seen in a while.

Smith departed for 73, his innings laced with even fours. Coulter-Nile fell soon after for a brilliant 92 that was studded with eight fours and four sixes. West Indies wrapped up the last few wickets quickly but from 79/5, this was a stunning recovery from Australia. Carlos Brathwaite returned 3/67 for West Indies while Thomas, Cottrell and Russell all picked up two wickets each.

West Indies' chase started on the wrong foot with Pat Cummins snaring Evin Lewis in the second over caught at second slip for 1. Chris Gayle, then twice given out by umpire Chris Gaffney off Starc, once caught behind and once lbw, had both decisions reversed. His luck though finally ran out when Starc in his next over trapped him lbw for a 17-ball 21. The replays, however, showed that the delivery which claimed Gayle's wicket should have been a free-hit as Starc had overstepped the previous ball, which the umpire failed to spot.

(Cricketnext) (Cricketnext)

Hope and Nicholas Pooran then got together going about their job with precision as they crafted a quick fire 68-run stand for the third wicket. Pooran was easily the aggressor slamming four fours and a six in his 36-ball 40 but fell to Zampa with the top edge well held by Finch running back at point.

Hope though carried unperturbed showing glimpses of why he so highly-rated in the cricketing circles. He reached a half-century off 76 balls but the wickets continued to tumble at the other end with Hetmyer run out after a complete breakdown in communication for 21.

Australia then got the big wicket of Hope for 68 while Russell too failed to make an impact miscuing Starc for 15 with the scoreboard reading 216/6.

The target did look out of West Indies' reach at that stage but captain Holder made a valiant attempt in getting them closer along with Carlos Brathwaite. He thumped 51 off 57 balls but Starc came back and within four balls took out both set batsman to turn the tide in Australia's favour.

In the process he also became the quickest bowler in the history of ODIs to complete 150 wickets, achieving the feat in 77 ODIs. He then got rid of Cottrell with a perfect yorker to complete his five-wicket haul.

Ashley Nurse finished off the game in a blaze of glory smoking four back to back fours but it wasn't enough in the end.

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