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Tiny crowd watches crushing Australian win

Roar Guru
9th February, 2010
2

The smallest crowd ever for an Australian limited overs match at Adelaide Oval witnessed the home side maul the West Indies by eight wickets on Tuesday night.

One day cricket has had many better days than this, with Doug Bollinger’s first-ball dismissal of West Indies captain Chris Gayle effectively determining the outcome of the contest while dissuading whatever spectators might have swelled the attendance later on.

The West Indies slid as low as 4-16 and were ultimately bowled out for 170, leaving Australia a leisurely chase they duly completed inside 27 overs.

Shane Watson extended his outstanding summer by cracking 51 and captain Ricky Ponting was also smooth in compiling an unbeaten 57.

A weekday fixture and temperatures hovering around 36C had made the match a hard sell, but the official crowd figure of 8,378 was still startling, well short of the reduced capacity of 16,500.

Prior to this match no 50-over game involving Australia had returned a crowd of less than 10,000, the skinniest being the 11,129 who saw Australia play New Zealand in November 1980.

The South Australian Cricket Association made only an obstinate defence of the attendance figure.

We did not expect this match to be a sell-out,” a SACA spokesperson said.

“The fact that this number of people have come out in the heat on a work and school day is testament to ODIs popularity.”

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Neither West Indies nor the match ever quite recovered from the hammer blow of Gayle’s instant dismissal by the excellent Bollinger (4-28).

He had plenty of support as there were wickets for every bowler on an Adelaide pitch that offered plenty of bounce to the pacemen and turn for Nathan Hauritz (1-45).

Of the visitors only the middle order quartet of Narsingh Deonarine (23), Denesh Ramdin (30), South Australian Twenty20 representative Kieron Pollard (33) and Dwayne Smith (43) offered any sort of resistance.

Australia’s chase was never going to be in any trouble from the moment Watson muscled two boundaries from Kemar Roach’s opening over.

Watson added 51 with Shaun Marsh (27) before the left-hander dragged a ball onto his stumps via a crooked bat.

Ponting looked as sure as he had in any one day innings this summer and had little difficulty finding the winning runs alongside Michael Clarke (27no) after Watson fell to Roach.

Gayle had promised a far better West Indian batting effort than the one witnessed in Melbourne on Sunday, but his threats were soon made to look empty, giving up a clear lbw verdict to Bollinger.

Travis Dowlin was caught behind while trying to leave Clint McKay (2-33), before Runako Morton and Lendl Simmons departed cheaply.

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The scoreline of 4-16 was the best start by an Australian bowling attack in any limited overs international, surpassing two instances of 4-17, against cricket minnows Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Regular wickets then ensured there would be no chance of the visitors reaching 200.

Bollinger said he wanted to be seen as a hero rather than a villain for getting Gayle so early in the piece.

“I’d like to feel like I’m a hero (for getting him out), I felt pretty good, I just went up and I wish I could get him out that easily every time,” he said.

“He’s a great player and I’m happy to have that scalp.

“It was a really good win, bowling them out in 40 overs then getting the runs pretty easy.”

Gayle said his feet were always a little slow to move so early in his innings.

“I’d love to tell you what happened first ball to be honest,” he said.

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“These things do happen to batters, the first ball is always a crucial one, being out there in the middle your legs don’t start moving that particularly early, so it’s something I always try to avoid but this time I got caught.”

The next match of the series takes place at the SCG on Friday.

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