Watching the West Indies celebrate victory over Australia in Brisbane on Wednesday night was an unusual sight.
But it may have paled in comparison to the “strange” sensation George Bailey felt leading out an unheralded national side in the one-off Twenty20 international at the Gabba.
The West Indies bounced back from a 5-0 one-day series loss to Australia with a 27-run T20 win over the depleted hosts at the Gabba, ensuring they ended their horror Down Under tour with a smile.
It marked the once mighty Windies’ first win in Australia over the hosts in any form since 1997.
Bailey was left with a bad taste in his mouth – and it wasn’t the fact Australia had crashed to their fifth straight T20 loss.
At the same time a Matthew Wade-captained Australian team played a tour match in India, Bailey led out an inexperienced outfit featuring three T20 debutants – Ben Rohrer, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Coulter-Nile.
In the end, Australia stumbled to 8-164 in response to a fast finishing Windies’ 6-191 in front of 19,562.
While players tried to thrust their name in front of Test selectors in the two-day clash with the Indian Board President’s XI in Chennai, punters were struggling to recognise all the Australian T20 players at the Gabba.
“No doubt it was a bit strange,” Bailey said of his no name outfit.
“It’s not ideal. As an Australian captain you want your full strength team out there at all times.”
At least one of the Windies’ biggest stars shone at the Gabba on Wednesday night.
Kieron Pollard backed up with 3-30, at one stage eyeing a hat-trick, after thrashing 26 off 17 balls to ensure a daunting target.
But denied Australian cricket’s biggest names due to the Test tour clash, fans voted with their feet in Brisbane – barely half of the Gabba was full for what was supposed to be this summer’s international cricket climax.
Australia looked comfortable at 1-79 in the 10th over with Shaun Marsh and Adam Voges at the crease before two run outs in three balls turned the match on its head.
First Marsh (21 off 19 balls) was caught short by Tino Best at cover, ending a 74-run second wicket stand.
Next over keeper Devon Thomas fumbled before redeeming himself by throwing down the wickets to catch out Voges (51 off 32 balls) and Australia never recovered despite the best efforts of Brad Haddin (22 off 11 balls).
The hosts initially punched above their weight after the early loss of Chris Gayle (eight) in just the second over thanks to the miserly James Faulkner (3-28 off four overs).
Opener Johnson Charles (57 off 35 balls) featured in an 88-run second wicket stand but the late hitting of Pollard, Andre Russell (23 not out off 11) and captain Darren Sammy (20 off seven) ensured the visitors lashed 48 runs off the final three overs.