George Bailey answered his critics in dominant fashion and Mitchell Starc again wreaked havoc with the ball as Australia posted a 54-run victory over the West Indies in the second one-day international at the WACA Ground.
After losing the toss and being sent in to bat, Australia were in deep trouble at 6-98 in the 24th over before Bailey cracked an unbeaten 125 off 110 balls to lift the home side to 7-266.
In reply, the West Indies were dismissed for 212 in 38.1 overs, with Mitchell Starc following up Friday’s 5-20 with 5-32 in front of 11,121 fans.
Game three of the five-match series will be played at Manuka Oval on Wednesday, with Australia holding a 2-0 lead.
The West Indies, who were skittled for 70 in the series opener, looked set for another painful outing after crashing to 3-33 on Sunday.
Starc was the chief destroyer early on with the wickets of Chris Gayle (four), Ramnaresh Sarwan (0) and Darren Bravo (14), but opener Kieran Powell (83 off 90 balls) and Dwayne Bravo (45) swung the game the visitors’ way with a quick-fire 126-run stand.
At 3-159 in the 28th over, the West Indies were well placed for victory.
But that was before another devastating spell from Starc, who snared the wickets of Powell and Devon Thomas (0) in consecutive balls as the West Indies lost 4-9 to hand all the momentum to Australia.
The Windies seemed unlucky to lose Thomas under the Decision Review System, with hot spot not showing any clear-cut evidence that he had nicked the ball behind.
Although Starc was again the hero with the ball, Australia had Bailey to thank for setting up the win.
National selectors had come under heavy criticism from some quarters for selecting Bailey as Australia’s Twenty20 captain and also including him in the 50-over set-up.
But his returns have justified his positions.
After 20 ODIs, Bailey is averaging 45 at a strike rate of 81.2, while he has averaged 28.8 at a strike rate of 132 from 15 T20Is.
All-rounder Glenn Maxwell experienced a day of mixed fortunes.
The 24-year-old made a first-ball duck, before finding out he had been auctioned off to Indian Premier League side Mumbai Indians for a cool $US1 million.
Maxwell then claimed crucial wickets while copping a battering with the ball, finishing with 4-63 off 8.1 overs.
On a day when the temperature reached 37.8C, the West Indies were hot in the field early as they pulled in three absolute screamers.
Powell started the show with a magnificent diving catch to his right to dismiss Usman Khawaja for three, before Darren Bravo snared a reflex catch above his head to remove Aaron Finch for 11.
But Darren Sammy produced arguably the best of the lot while fielding at first slip, the skipper sticking up his left hand to pull in an edge from Matthew Wade.
“I was a bit more emotional than I thought I would be. It was a great feeling,” Bailey said of notching his maiden ODI century.
“I wasn’t very happy with my innings early.
“I was joking with (coach) Mickey Arthur that I only got my feet going at about the 48th over. That was a bit of a battle.”
Powell said the West Indies took plenty of positives out of the match, despite not winning.
“I thought Bailey and (James) Faulkner batted really well,” Powell said.
“They didn’t really give us an opportunity to get into the tail.
“You have to give them credit for the way they played.”