MELBOURNE, Australia (CMC) – West Indies suffered a dreaded whitewash to Australia after losing the final One-Day International (ODI) of their five-match series by 17 runs, despite a maiden century from rookie opener Johnson Charles.
Chasing a challenging 275 for victory, the Caribbean side collapsed from a comfortable position of 182 for three in the 37th over, to fall for 257 off the penultimate delivery of the encounter at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday.
Charles, playing his second match of the series, struck an even hundred off 121 balls while Kieron Pollard hit 45 and Darren Bravo, 33 but the Windies faded after losing their last seven wickets for 75 runs.
Once again, the damage was done by the Aussie seamers with left-armer Mitchell Johnson claiming three for 50 and Clint McKay finishing with three for 52.
West Indies had earlier let their advantage slip after they reduced Australia to two wickets for two runs in the third over, after winning the toss and bowling first.
Adam Voges then grabbed the opportunity to score his maiden ODI century, an unbeaten 112, which pulled the Aussies out of trouble and steered them to 274 for five.
It was his 111-run, fifth wicket partnership with Brad Haddin and an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 81 with James Faulkner (31 not out), that broke the backbone of the West Indies threat, after Australia had stumbled further to 82 for four in the 25th over.
Voges, a 33-year-old right-hander with just 16 ODIs behind him, faced 106 balls and struck ten fours and two sixes while the experienced Haddin, who replaced wicketkeeper Matthew Wade for his first game of the series, cracked five fours in a 45-ball knock.
Faulkner lashed two fours in a breezy 25-ball knock.
Fast bowler Tino Best, who captured two for 71, knocked over both openers in successive overs at the start as the Windies powered out the blocks.
He claimed captain Shane Watson to the first ball of the game, bowled playing on attempting to leave alone a short ball and then had Aaron Finch caught at long leg by Sunil Narine, top-edging a hook.
Left-handers Shaun Marsh (40) and Phil Hughes (29) added 61 for the third wicket before medium pacer Dwayne Bravo (2-62) picked off both, to put West Indies back in charge.
Hughes was taken at point by Pollard on the second attempt after parrying a full blooded cut and Marsh edged behind for wicketkeeper Devon Thomas to come up with a neat catch diving in front of first slip, giving Bravo his 150th ODI scalp.
Voges, dropped by captain Darren Sammy at slip when seven, settled down to construct an excellent innings and raised three figures off 97 balls in the 48th over.
West Indies’ horrible starts in the series continued when the in-form Kieran Powell was taken at second slip by Finch off the last ball of the second over by Johnson, with just seven runs on the board.
However, Charles and Darren Bravo put on 106 for the second wicket, as West Indies fought back gamely to put the contest back in their corner.
The right-handed Charles stroked eight fours and a six but lived somewhat of a charmed life en route to three figures.
He was dropped on nine by the usually reliable Finch at second slip off McKay at 13 for one in the fifth over and then suffered a lucky escape when 55 after being given not out off a caught behind appeal, and having the verdict upheld on TV review though replays appeared to show him getting a thin edge.
Charles promptly celebrated by lofting the unlucky fast bowler Ben Cutting over the ropes at long-on and then slapped him to the point boundary, in the 22nd over that cost 13 runs.
He watched on 77 as substitute Ryan Carters amazingly floored a sitter at cover off left-armer Faulkner at 137 for three in the 19th over and off the very next ball, was adjudged lbw only to have the decision overturned via the DRS.
Charles brought up his century with a guided four to third man off McKay but then squirted a short ball to short fine leg off the next delivery, as his luck finally ran out.
Earlier, when Darren Bravo drove left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty low to mid-off after facing 50 balls and hitting three fours and his older brother Dwayne succumbed for 13, Charles found an ally in Pollard to put on a further 53 for the fourth wicket.
Pollard looked dangerous in stroking two fours and a six off 62 balls, but Charles demise in the 37th over not only ended the blossoming partnership but the Windies hopes of saving any pride in the series.