Australia 232 for 2 (Smith 79*, Green 77*, Inglis 65) beat West Indies 231 (Carty 88, Chase 59, Bartlett 4-17) by eight wickets
A stunning debut spell from Xavier Bartlett and a classy all-round display from Cameron Green guided Australia to a comfortable eight-wicket win in the opening ODI at the MCG.
Bartlett tore through West Indies’ top order on his ODI debut to finish with 4 for 17, the second-best figures on ODI debut for Australia behind current selector Tony Dodemaide, while Green claimed 2 for 40 and then made 77 not out in his first innings at No. 3 in ODI cricket to showcase his immense all-round talent.
Josh Inglis also made a blistering 43-ball 65 while Steven Smith made an unassuming unbeaten run-a-ball 79 as Australia mowed down West Indies’ under-par total of 231, which was underpinned by a career-best 88 from Keacy Carty and 59 from Roston Chase.
It was Bartlett’s spell that set up the win. The 25-year-old Queenslander and Lance Morris became the first debutants for Australia to open the bowling together in an ODI since 2016, and just the third pair since 1975. Bartlett claimed a wicket with his third ball in ODI cricket, clipping the top of Justin Greaves’ off stump with a magical outswinger. He should have had a second three balls later as he hooped an inswinger into Alick Athanaze’s front pad but the umpire thought it was shaping down and Smith opted not to review it. The ball-tracking projection suggested the ball was smashing the top of leg stump.
It did not cost Bartlett though, as he showcased the new-ball skills he displayed in the BBL, swerving one the other way across Athanaze to scratch his outside edge. Later, in his six-over spell with the new ball, he shaped another outswinger away from the right-handed Shai Hope to catch a thick edge, which was well-pouched by Matt Short at slip.
He had figures of 3 for 10 with a maiden after his opening spell. He later returned to pick up his fourth wicket with the first ball of the 48th over but could not grab a fifth as Sean Abbott finished the innings in the 49th over.
After Bartlett’s burst, West Indies slumped to 59 for 4 when Green picked up the first of his two wickets. But Carty and Chase steadied the ship with an impressive century stand.
Carty deserved a century of his own. Having passed his highest ODI score after losing Chase, he was 12 runs shy when Hayden Walsh Jr called him through for a kamikaze single to cover and Abbott produced a direct hit with Carty miles short of his ground.
It was a cruel end for Carty after playing so well. Walsh squatted low at the other end hoping for the ground to swallow him up, knowing fully well he had barbequed Carty trying to get off strike.
Carty took a particular shining to the extra pace of Morris, producing two jaw-dropping flicks for six over backward square. He was also savage when Australia’s new firebrand overpitched, thumping several of his 140kph-plus offerings back down the ground.
Morris’ debut was far less eye-catching than Bartlett’s as he conceded 59 from his 10 overs without claiming a wicket.
While Carty took on the pace, Chase attacked the spin striking four of his seven boundaries off Adam Zampa. He bravely swept and pulled off the stumps, and profited as a result. But it would later bring about his downfall at a critical moment. He was bowled around his legs trying to sweep Zampa off middle stump, having gone across too far and completely misjudged the length.
Australia could have wrapped the innings up a little sooner but some sloppy errors allowed West Indies to drag on. Travis Head dropped a sitter in the deep to deny Green a third wicket before Inglis and Marnus Labuschagne both fluffed easy run outs.
Australia’s chase got off to a horror start with Head falling in Matthew Forde’s opening over for just 4, after bagging a pair in the second Test in Brisbane.
But any hope West Indies might have had of reproducing their Gabba heroics evaporated in less than ten overs as Inglis smashed a 28-ball half-century to whisk the game away. Opening for just the second time in ODIs, having also tested positive for Covid on Thursday, Inglis smoked ten fours and a six in a statement innings. Anything fractionally short from Forde and Oshane Thomas was hammered, including a huge six over square leg. He also produced some stunning drives down the ground. He fell trying to reverse-sweep Gudakesh Motie.
But his whirlwind knock allowed Green all the time in the world to settle, and after a sluggish start, he got flowing with two massive sixes off Motie and Romario Shepherd.
Green benefitted from Smith’s calm influence at the other end. On another day, he might have felt more pressure to up the ante with higher-risk strokeplay, but the stand-in skipper was happy to cruise to the total without any unnecessary acceleration. They picked off the spinners in a calm century stand to guide Australia home with 11.3 overs to spare. (ESPN Cricinfo)