The ODI cricket series between Australia and West Indies in Barbados will go down to the final match after the hosts levelled the score with a four-wicket win in a low-scoring rescheduled game two in Barbados.

Australia collapsed to 45-6 in the 13th over, but the lower half of the order fought hard to eke out a score of 187 before the innings ended with 17 balls left. No 10 Wes Agar (41 off 36), who equalled his best score in any format, top-scored for Australia.

In reply, Mitchel Starc (3-26 off 10 overs) took two wickets in his second over and legspinner Adam Zampa (2-43 off 9) bowled two batsmen with googlies, as the home side slumped to 72-5 in the 15th. A sixth-wicket stand of 93 in 20 overs between Nicholas Pooran (59 not out off 75 and Jason Holder (52 off 69) put the West Indies back In control and they cruised to victory with 12 overs to go.

The game was suspended just before it was scheduled to start Friday (AEST) after a positive Covid test in the West Indies camp. The match started 48 hours later at the scheduled time of the third ODI, after 152 people involved in the series re-tested and were found to be Covid-negative, with the final match of the series pushed back to Tuesday (AEST).

Agar said the players had an inkling the previous night the game would go ahead. “We prepared as if we were going to play today and then when we got the news around seven, eight o’clock this morning we got ourselves ready to go,” Agar said.

After the game, it was revealed original tour captain Aaron Finch, who has missed the first two games with a right knee injury, would also be unavailable for the decider and the upcoming five-match T20 tour of Bangladesh. He faces surgery after 14 days of quarantine in Australia, but team medical officials are optimistic he will be fit for the T20 World Cup commencing in October.

Australia’s problems on the day started with the fourth ball of the innings when Ben McDermott was caught behind, and the opener later hurt an ankle when he crashed into a boundary board while fielding.

Left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein (3-30 off 10) ripped through the middle order on a pitch offering significant turn, taking three wickets in six balls. None of the top six made more than 16, but the fightback started with Matthew Wade (36 off 68) adding 51 for the seventh wicket with Starc (19 off 43).

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Wade and Zampa (36 off 62) put on 32 and Zampa and Agar further frustrated the home team with a partnership of 59 off nine overs.

“The bowlers did a great job to get us to a total where we were back In the game,” acting captain Alex Carey said. “We took some early wickets again, the belief was there definitely and we created opportunities and we were In the game in that back end, unfortunately, we couldn’t quite close it out.”

Shai Hope (38 off 43) was the only top-order West Indies batsman to get going, but Pooran was dropped twice on 26 and 49, at mid-off and slip by Moises Henriques and Wade respectively.

Australia were allowed to make a change to the side originally selected, with Agar coming into the side for fellow quick Josh Hazlewood, who dropped out with a calf problem but will be available for the decider on Tuesday (AEST).


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