Australia set West Indies 289 to win: Cricket World Cup 2019 – live! | Sport

West Indies rip through Australia’s top order, Australia recover

Hard to know where to start here – some wonderful individual performances on both sides, and some eyebrow-raisingly bad ones on both sides, too.

A bouncer barrage was promised, and it was delivered. That said, it was a huge surprise to see the majority of Australia’s top order succumb so meekly to it – each of Finch, Warner, Khawaja and Maxwell were worked over and dismissed in a manner that will jar coach Justin Langer. As they say, there is now a blueprint.

Khawaja and Maxwell’s dismissals will specifically grate. For Khawaja, the image of him backing away after two bouncers will not please the purists (or anyone), while Maxwell’s decision to hook his second ball will sadly (and you’d have to say, validly) reinforce a number of views about his temperament.

For the West Indies, it was a ferocious period of bowling, that harked back to the days of old – Fire In Babylon and all that. OShane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell and Andre Russell tore the batsmen asunder, and left Australia teetering at 79-5.

Steve Smith, however, looked assured throughout, and held it together, which is what he does. Alex Carey was bright in his 45, and he was followed by Nathan Coulter-Nile who may well have tipped this back in Australia’s favour with an exhibition of power hitting that lifted him and Australia to a height not earlier foreseen. In Coulter-Nile’s case, his 92 from 60 deliveries is the highest score made at a World Cup from a batsman listed from 8 to 11 – just underscoring the scale of the innings.

While this was happening, Sheldon Cottrell was able to snaffle one of the game’s greatest ever catches, running to his left and ensnaring Steve Smith’s bullet-like whip over square leg, that was comfortably going for six, and possibly taking somebody’s head off. You will see highlights of this for years. Was it better than Stokes’ catch? Do we have to compare? It was absolutely brilliant: 10/10.

Catch aside, there’s no doubt the West Indies’ fielding fell apart, as did their bowling. Whether or not they chase down this total, that will be a talking point for them – as will Andre Russell’s fitness – as he was forced to leave the ground on multiple occasions to tend to his knee.

After the innings, Coulter-Nile said: “It’s the sort of wicket where you have to take your time, and get used to the bounce. I’m not sure if it’s the wicket, or them … but it definitely took time to get used to it.”

Is 288 a good score? In the context of 79-5, it most definitely is. The Windies will have to bat well to get there, but whether Australia can effect the same devastation with the short ball remains to be seen. You can stick around for that with Adam Collins, who joins next.

A big thanks to all who’ve joined me around the world. The emails and messages were sensational – even the multitude of grammatical corrections. Sorry to those I didn’t get to – this was a very hurried affair. Catch you next time.


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Publish date : 2019-06-06 14:28:00

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