CRICKET / Shane Watson gets back in action with a bang; James Faulkner bowls well
Shane Watson hit a century on his return from injury and James Faulkner claimed four wickets as Australia beat the West Indies by 39 runs to claim the one-day international series on Wednesday.
Watson, opening the innings after four weeks out with a calf injury, smashed 122 off 111 balls.
Supported by 86 from Phil Hughes, he helped Australia reach 329 for seven after winning the toss in the third ODI of the five-game series.
The home side then dismissed the West Indies for 290 off 47.3 overs with left-arm medium pacer Faulkner claiming four for 48 — all bowled — to achieve another emphatic victory after wins by nine wickets and 54 runs in Perth.
Watson reached his seventh ODI century off 102 balls and then set about Kemar Roach, clubbing a huge six logged at 114 metres into the stands.
This was followed by a four as he threatened to go on for a big ton on the bat-friendly Manuka Oval pitch.
But two balls later Watson holed out to Kieron Pollard, one of four catches to the athletic West Indian, top-edging to deep backward square leg as he went after Roach's second-last ball of his eighth over.
It was a welcome return to form for Watson before this month's four-Test tour to India.
Hughes, who gave a chance cutting through slip on six, lost the opportunity to make his third ODI century this season when he was caught behind off Darren Sammy for 86 (93b, 10x4, 1x6).
Opener Aaron Finch was out when he tried to run a Sammy delivery down to third man only to be caught behind for 38 off 41 balls. Michael Clarke was out to a juggling caught and bowled by Pollard for 15 in the 41st over.
Glenn Maxwell left the wicket shaking his head in disbelief when he was brilliantly caught one handed for four by a leaping Pollard on the boundary as he looked to smash spinner Sunil Narine for six.
Pollard plucked another near-replica one-handed leaping catch on the rope to end George Bailey's cameo of 44 off 22 balls and give Narine his second wicket.
Faulkner only lasted three balls before he was bowled for two.
The West Indies would have had to make history to overhaul the Australian total, with its biggest previous ODI run chase 324 for eight against India at Nagpur in 2006-07.
Brothers Darren and Dwayne Bravo gave the tourists early hope with a fighting 114-run partnership for the third wicket before Mitchell Starc bowled Dwayne Bravo middle stump for 51 off 50 balls.
The wickets began to tumble, with Faulkner claiming two of them in his sixth over.
He bowled Chris Gayle for two with the first ball after drinks, and was given a warning by the umpire for his over-zealous sending off of the batsman, before removing the dangerous Darren Bravo three balls later.
Faulkner bowled him for 86 off 96 balls to put the skids under the West Indians.
Faulkner finished with two more wickets, clean-bowling spinner Sunil Narine (1) and skipper Sammy (8) to wrap up the Australian victory.
The series moves to Sydney for the fourth ODI on Friday before the fifth and final match at MCG on Sunday. — AFP