Australian captain Shane Watson says the spirit shown by the West Indies so far in the one-day series is no surprise as far as he’s concerned.
Many in the Caribbean and back in Australia felt the once-mighty Windies would be easybeats but, after Tuesday’s thrilling tie in the third one-day international in St Vincent, the five-match series is locked 1-1 going into the fourth and fifth matches in St Lucia.
Australia will probably leave Kingstown on Wednesday wondering how they’re not 2-1 up in the series after Tuesday’s thrilling match.
A century stand by man-of-the-match Michael Hussey (67) and George Bailey (59) seemed to have the tourists poised for a big first-innings total only for the Australians to lose their last six wickets for 18 runs to be dismissed for 220.
That looked like enough when the Windies were 6-117 in their run-chase before Andre Russell (37), Carlton Baugh (33) and Darren Sammy (10) put the hosts within one run of victory with three balls remaining.
Then a disastrous mix-up between Sammy and last man Kemar Roach gifted the Aussies a run-out and a ninth ODI tie in the nation’s history to leave both teams ruing missed opportunities.
Watson says anyone who thought the Windies would be a pushover has seen they’re a much more challenging proposition than assumed.
“Not surprised. Not with the amount of talent they’ve got within their team,” Watson said.
“They seem like a really good, tight-knit unit. They’re a really impressive fielding unit. The way all the guys move around the field is pretty amazing to watch.”
Regardless, Watson – a member of the team which tied with South Africa in Potchefstroom in 2002 – said Australia needed to make sure they finish the job when they’re on top.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the runs we probably wanted at the end to get up to around 240 which we knew would have been a very good total,” he said of the late collapse.
“Bowling was a similar sort of thing. Getting them six down we knew we were just a couple of wickets away from being able to finish the game off.
“In the end, there’s been some really good cricket played. Some really tight games. It’s great for the series, no doubt.
“West Indies are playing some really good cricket. It’s going to set up a couple of really good games in St Lucia and hopefully we can get up and put a complete game together.”
West Indies coach Ottis Gibson revealed his team’s heartache at having put themselves in a winning position only to fall at the last hurdle.
But he said his charges should believe they can win the series.
“The last time the Australians toured the West Indies, at this stage, the series was already over,” Gibson said.
“They went on to win 5-0. Now at this stage, we are still in it with all to play for.
“We will go to St Lucia and re-group, come again and look for two wins to take the series.”