Lee levels series for Australia

Australia

Two early strikes from Brett Lee proved the key as Australia beat the West Indies by 30 runs in St Lucia on Sunday and in doing so squared the five-match series two-all.

Two early strikes from Brett Lee proved the key as Australia beat the West Indies by 30 runs in St Lucia on Sunday and in doing so squared the five-match series two-all.

Heading into the clash the West Indies knew that a win would secure a shock series victory, their first in ODIs since 1995.

As has been the case in the last three games (the opening one-dayer didn't quite go to plan for the hosts), the Windies showed great fight but thanks to a fine opening spell from Lee, they were unable to chase down their target of 282.

Having struggled with opening partnerships of 31, 19, 34 and three prior to Sunday's encounter, David Warner and Shane Watson at last hit their straps after being put into bat by Darren Sammy.

The duo scored at a consistent rate throughout their opening stand of 118, with Warner (69 off 61 balls) initially the slower of the two before pushing on while Watson (66 off 89 balls) was calm and collected.

However, their work and that of number three Peter Forrest (53) was wasted by the middle and lower order as batsmen fell at a steady pace throughout the last 15 overs, with a rain break not helping their cause.

Kemar Roach (three for 53) and Andre Russell (four for 61) were the chief destroyers for the hosts, with the duo going for some tap but collecting a number of wickets courtesy of catches in the deep too.

Australia needed to start strongly and Lee did just that, picking up the wickets of Johnson Charles in his first over and Marlon Samuels in his second, with neither batsman troubling the scorers. Indeed, Lee's figures at one stage read: three overs, three maidens, two wickets.

From that point it was always going to be hard for the hosts to get back in it.

Adrian Barath stood firm as the Bravo brothers departed and when the opener was dismissed by Xavier Doherty for 42, the West Indies were reduced to 76 for five and in a world of trouble.

After the hitting of Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy in the fourth ODI, the Australians would no doubt have been weary, and they had ever reason to be.

Pollard smashed two maximums before the big all-rounder tried one big shot too many and holed out to midwicket off Watson's bowling.

If the Australians thought the game was in the bag then they couldn't have been more wrong.

Darren Sammy would not go down without a fight and equaled the fastest fifty by a West Indian in ODIs as he racked up 52 off just 20 balls.

Sammy added a further 32 as he hammered the Aussie attack to all ends in a fine display of hitting. The crowd roared with ever shot – was the impossible within reach?

For a moment it seemed it may be but when Sammy skied Ben Hilfenhaus into the leg side with 30 still needed, the dream died, but it did so with dignity, a characteristic not found in many West Indies defeats in previous years.

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