With an eight-wicket win over West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound on Wednesday (September 11), Australia have become the first side to whitewash the Caribbean team in their backyard since 2003.
Australia’s change in approach following the 2017 World Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of India has been remarkable. A team that features experienced players with a perfect blend of youngsters have not taken a single match lightly despite it being a one-sided affair against West Indies.
Having set mighty totals in the first two matches, Australia were made to chase a below-par target of 181 as the Aussie bowlers delivered tight spells before Megan Schutt took a hat-trick in the final over to bundle out the hosts.
While Schutt cleaned up the tail, it was Ellyse Perry who got an early breakthrough in the second over of the innings. Reniece Boyce was caught behind and that helped Perry to join the elite club of 150 ODI wickets. She is just the third bowler to reach the mark after Cathryn Fitzpatrick and Jhulan Goswami.
Kyshona Knight and Britney Cooper held fort for West Indies for quite some time, but just when the frustration of not being able to get a wicket got to the visitors’, leg-spinner Georgia Wareham dismissed Cooper, leaving the West Indies at 42 for 2 after 16.2 overs.
That brought Stafanie Taylor, the captain, to the middle. With Knight going slow at the other end, the hosts progressed at a snail's pace. At the halfway stage, West Indies were 71 for 2 - their innings going nowhere.
Soon enough, Jess Jonassen, the left-arm spinner got rid of Knight, who dragged on in an attempt to play the slog. That led to a flurry of wickets including the big wicket of Taylor, who was sent back to the pavillion by Ashleigh Gardner.
Sheneta Grimmond, who was a rare shining light in the previous ODI, smashed two maximums. Alongside Chinelle Henry, she stitched a 50-run partnership for the seventh wicket. The entertaining innings of Grimmond came to an end when Jonassen clean bowled her for a 24-ball 34.
Schutt, who had a quiet day by her high standards, had a dream ending. The fast bowler got a fascinating hat-trick as she dismissed Chinelle Henry, Karishma Ramharack and Afy Fletcher. While Henry and Fletcher were cleaned up, Ramharack holed out to long off. The hosts were bowled out for 180.
In reply, Alyssa Healy, Australian opener and wicketkeeper-batter, smashed an entertaining 61 off just 32 balls to get her side off to a flier. With her aggressive approach, Healy raised her third consecutive fifty in the series and ninth overall. She hit both Henry and Shamilia Connell each for for four fours in an over along the way, finishing with a series tally of 241 runs - the most by a wicket-keeper in a three-match bilateral ODI series.
Taylor tried to pull back the match as she ended Healy’s stay at the crease. The Australian slapped the ball hard to covers to Stacy-Ann King, who held on to the catch, bringing in Lanning who had missed the second ODI due to a back spasm. In partnership with Rachael Haynes, Lanning controlled the chase with her measured approach. Fletcher got the crucial wicket of Haynes for 19 off 40 balls when the left-hander holed out to long-on in search of a boundary.
Lanning found support in Perry and the duo ensured Australia faced no further hiccups. Australia's skipper raced to complete her second fifty-plus score of the series. The half-century marked her 13th in the format and secured a comfortable win for the visitors. Lanning and Perry finished unbeaten on 58 and 33 respectively, helping Australia canter to a win with close to 19 overs to spare.
Brief Scores: West Indies 180 all out in 50 overs (Kyshona Knight 40, Chinelle Henry 39; Megan Schutt 3/24, Jess Jonassen 2/8) lost to Australia 181/2 in 31.1 overs (Alyssa Healy 61, Meg Lanning 58*; Stafanie Taylor 1/25) by eight wickets. PoM: Alyssa Healy. PoS: Ellyse Perry.