Abbott stars as Australia claim series win over Windies

Jasper Bruce |

Jake Fraser-McGurk will make his one-day debut for Australia against West Indies at the SCG.
Jake Fraser-McGurk will make his one-day debut for Australia against West Indies at the SCG.

Australia have won their ODI series with West Indies in two games after Sean Abbott produced the best performance of his international career to secure an 83-run victory at the SCG.

West Indies had a chance to replicate their upset win from last month’s second Test when they won the toss and consigned Australia to 4-89 by the 16th over on Sunday.

But No.8 Abbott pulled the hosts back from the brink with his highest score in green and gold, cracking 69 off 63 balls and hitting four of his side’s eight sixes.

On a wicket assisting the Windies’ spinners, the 31-year-old propelled Australia to 9-258 before 20,025 fans – a slightly healthier crowd than that at the sparsely-attended MCG series opener.

Abbott credited Australia’s 2023 World Cup triumph and sessions with batting coach Trent Woodhill for his performance with the bat.

“I obviously didn’t play all that many games at the World Cup and it allowed me to go away and train with Alex Carey, Marcus Stoinis, these other guys that missed a few games as well,” Abbott said.

“It was just nice to reap some rewards tonight in a pressure situation.”

Sean Abbott.
After starring with the bat Sean Abbott claimed three wickets to help rout West Indies. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

Bowling allrounder Abbott (3-40) was again instrumental as Australia skittled West Indies for 175 in the 44th over of an at times painfully slow innings, later calling this the best of his 34 ODIs.

“It’s a game I’ll remember for a long time,” he said.

“I leaked a few runs and bowled a noey (no ball) there, which wasn’t ideal. But it was a nice night, a couple of catches too. I’m pretty chuffed.”

West Indies fell to 3-34 after a full-length ball from Abbott drew an edge behind from Kjorn Ottley (8). Keacy Carty (40), West Indies’ danger man at the MCG, fell in similar fashion as Abbott’s second scalp.

Abbott took two catches on the run – neither one a sitter – to help dispatch opener Alick Athanaze (11) and then Romario Shepherd (6), the latter exposing West Indies’ tail and putting Australia firmly on track for victory.

Called in for the second match of the series, veteran quick Josh Hazlewood (3-43) was effective in his first ODI since last year’s World Cup triumph, including bowling Shai Hope (29) to end his 53-run stand with Carty.

On debut, lanky allrounder Will Sutherland took 2-28.

West Indies rued their lukewarm batting performance, with pacer Alzarri Joseph describing their target as “chaseable”.

“If you tell yourself before the 50 overs, you’re going to get Australia out for 250, you’d be happy with that,” he said..

Matthew Forde.
Matthew Forde catches out Aaron Hardie, one of three wickets to fall to Gudakesh Motie. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

The only sour note for Australia came as hamstring tightness prevented Matt Short, who scored a handy 41, from being able to field. 

He will be monitored ahead of the third match in Canberra on Tuesday.

Earlier, highly-rated debutant Jake Fraser-McGurk was dismissed on only the fifth ball of Australia’s innings in a sign of the chaos to come.

Replacing the rested Travis Head at the top, Fraser-McGurk (10) hit Alzarri Joseph (2-74) down the ground for four, past square leg for six, and then to wicketkeeper Hope through an outside edge.

Cameron Green (33) looked the most comfortable of the top-order batters before being caught at mid on.

At first drop, he reignited the innings with three successive fours off Joseph, who had dismissed both Josh Inglis (9) and Fraser-McGurk (10) caught behind as Australia fell to 2-21.

Spinner Gudakesh Motie (3-28) tore through the middle order and was the pick of West Indies’ bowlers, enticing Aaron Hardie (26) into skying to mid on and removing Short caught-and-bowled.