West Indies go 2-0 up as Australia fold for 140

Australia
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Hetmyer, Bravo and Russell starred with the bat for the hosts as Australia fell in a heap for the second night running

West Indies 196 for 4 (Hetmyer 61, Bravo 47*) beat Australia 140 (Marsh 54, Walsh Jr 3-29) by 56 runs

A superbly constructed century partnership between Shimron Hetmyer and Dwayne Bravo was the cornerstone of an impressive West Indies performance as they went 2-0 up against Australia.
Having pulled victory from the jaws of defeat 24 hours ago this time a West Indies victory felt far more secure after they had posted a formidable 196 and removed Australia’s openers cheaply.
Hetmyer, who had been given a vote of confidence by injured captain Kieron Pollard prior to the series, found the ideal balance between seeking boundaries and keeping the scoreboard ticking as he reached a career-best and just his second T20I half-century. Bravo, promoted ahead of Andre Russell and Nicholas Pooran when West Indies were three down inside 10 overs, batted at his highest position and produced his highest score for at international level for five years although was given two lives.

The fourth-wicket stand of 103 was West Indies’ best in T20Is then the innings was given its finishing touches by Russell. There were 13 sixes (and just eight fours) in the innings but what will please captain and coaching staff was how the strike was also rotated. West Indies managed 123 runs off the second 10 overs.

Mitchell Marsh made his second consecutive half-century and West Indies lost Fidel Edwards from their attack with injury, but the asking rate climbed out of control. In the end, Australia fell in a heap for the second night running.

Pressure grows on Gayle

There is no arguing about what Chris Gayle has achieved in his career, but right now batting is looking a pretty painful affair for him. He has 102 runs in nine innings since returning to the side against Sri Lanka and his 13 off 16 deliveries today did not hint at any return to fluency. Over his career there have been many examples of him eating up dot balls but turning around an innings with such force that it doesn’t matter, but he’s not getting out of the starting blocks at the moment. On this occasion he ended up dragging on against Marsh in the eighth over which left West Indies uncertain at 59 for 3, but it may have been the best thing to happen to the innings.

The perfect partnership

It was surprising to see Bravo walk out at No. 5 but it proved a masterstroke, although Australia had their chances to remove him. Adam Zampa missed a low caught-and-bowled chance when he had 2 and Dan Christian made good ground to a chance at long-off when Bravo had 15 but it spilled out. That second dropped chance came in the 12th over with the stand still to move through the gears and Bravo’s run-a-ball display was threatening to be polarizing. But in the 13th over, both he and Hetmyer cleared the ropes against Ashton Agar and from there the innings never looked back. Hetmyer struck the ball beautifully having calmly played himself into his innings, bringing up a 29-ball fifty with an audacious scooped six against Mitchell Starc whose last two overs cost 30 on another difficult night. The final four overs of the innings were carted for 14, 15, 16 and 16 with Russell finishing it emphatically.

Level pegging, but not really

It was worth noting that after eight overs both teams were 59 for 3, but from there the two innings went on vastly different paths. Australia had been set back by the early loss of both openers – Matthew Wade pulled the second ball to mid-on and Aaron Finch was flummoxed by Edwards’ slower delivery – then Josh Philippe couldn’t get going before missing a straight delivery from Hayden Walsh Jr. Marsh’s innings was also ended by Walsh, who took his tally to six wickets in two matches, which heralded another clatter of wickets. Australia’s position was summed up when Christian and Agar were both left watching the big screen to see who had been run out when both ended up at the same end.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo