The Roar
The Roar


Triple threat Abbott steps out of Big Three's shadow with all-round excellence to save Australia's bacon against Windies

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4th February, 2024
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The top order peeled off a procession of soft dismissals but all-rounder Sean Abbott ensured Australia avoided an upset loss to the West Indies by producing a career-best knock, then starring with the ball and in the field in the second ODI at the SCG on Sunday.

The understrength Australians were aggressive from the get-go but slumped to 5-91 in the 17th over before Abbott spearheaded a lower-order fightback with 69 off 63 deliveries on his home pitch as they finished on 9-258.

He then took 3-40 and a couple of catches for good measure to run away with player of the match honours as the Windies were bowled out for 175 for Australia to seal a series victory with a match to spare.

The white-ball version of Scott Boland and Michael Neser, the 31-year-old NSW seamer has struggled to get consistent game time for Australia due to the presence of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. He was the fourth seamer at the World Cup but only got to play the final group game when Starc was rested before the semis.

With Lance Morris, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Ellis, Xavier Bartlett and now Will Sutherland challenging for spots in the ODI bowling attack, there was a chance Abbott could be deemed surplus to requirements with the younger pace generation coming through but he reminded the selectors of his all-round value with a magnificent performance.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 04: Sean Abbott of Australia celebrates taking the wicket of Kjorn Ottley of the West Indies during game two of the Men's One Day International series between Australia and West Indies at Sydney Cricket Ground on February 04, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Sean Abbott celebrates taking the wicket of Kjorn Ottley. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

“It’s hard with the bowlers that are around, they’re very good and that’s putting it lightly,” he said.

“It’s a very good group to be around. And whilst I’m not playing at times you go through periods where you don’t play but it’s such a good group that your cricket is still moving forward. Whilst I’d like to be out there playing every game, I’m still enjoying every bit of it.”


The Windies rarely looked like threatening the victory target after losing three wickets inside the ninth over.

With Abbott, Sutherland and Aaron Hardie filling their support roles well with the ball, Hazlewood showed why he is considered one of the finest bowlers in world cricket with a classy effort to bag 3-43 from eight overs.

His delivery to dismiss Windies skipper Shai Hope for 29 was top-shelf seam bowling, jagging the ball back through his defences with a virtually unplayable off-cutter.

Australia’s batting was less reliable with several wickets the result of poor shots rather than penetrative Windies bowling.

“It ended up a decent score but I don’t think Australia batted very well at all,” said Mark Waugh on Fox Cricket commentary. “Most of those dismissals were pretty ordinary.”

Jake Fraser-McGurk joined Sutherland in making his debut while Hazlewood was brought in for opener Travis Head, with Morris and Bartlett rotated out of the bowling attack.


Fraser-McGurk smashed a four and a six from the first over of the match but he needs to learn there’s something better than blasting at a double-figure runs per over rate – being around for the second over.

The the 21-year-old nicked off for 10 off five deliveries in the briefest of stays which showed he has explosive power but lacks the maturity and experience to build an innings.

Opening partner Josh Inglis failed to back up his whirlwind half-century in the series opener, departing for nine to a careless shot which was caught at gully off Test paceman Alzarri Joseph, who had been brought into the Windies XI for spinner Hayden Walsh.

Stand-in skipper Steve Smith was furious with himself after chopping on Matthew Forde for five.

First drop Cameron Green got off to a flyer with five boundaries and a towering six into the upper deck over mid-wicket but started to get bogged down and gave his wicket away with a reckless pull shot which ballooned to mid-on when he was 33.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 04: Aaron Hardie of Australia bats during game two of the Men's One Day International series between Australia and West Indies at Sydney Cricket Ground on February 04, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Aaron Hardie bats at the Sydney Cricket Ground. (Photo by Jason McCawley – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)


And when Marnus Labuschagne continued the trend of soft dismissals by driving a Gudakesh Motie half-volley to short cover on 26 just when it looked like he was set for a lengthy innings.

Emerging duo Matt Short and Aaron Hardie stemmed the tide with a 51-run partnership before they departed in quick succession.

Short (41) skied a hoick off Motie and Hardie (26) presented him with a return catch and with the Aussies at 7-167, they were in danger of falling short of 200.

However, Abbott made the most of a rare chance to build an innings with plenty of overs to spare and cleared the boundary twice on his way to 50 off 54 balls.

After Sutherland fell for 18 to a spectacular catch by Justin Greaves at cover, Abbott whacked another couple in a row into the SCG outer in the 49th over but was bowled trying for a third in a row off Romario Shepherd.

But by that stage he had filled his role superbly, lifting the total not only beyond 200 but into the 250-plus category to give himself and his fellow bowlers a decent total to defend.


Windies opening duo Alick Athanaze (8) and Greaves (11) didn’t last long before Hazlewood and Hardie respectively got their measure while Kjorn Ottley came in at first drop for the tourists, with Kavem Hodge dropped, but the veteran international rookie managed just eight before Abbott induced an edge to Inglis.

When Hope fell to Hazlewood, the Windies’ only hope was Keacy Carty but he also fell victim to Abbott when he nicked a cut shot on 40.

With the ball keeping low on a stodgy SCG wicket, the Windies went down swinging before Green’s brilliant diving mid-wicket speccy off Abbott to remove Roston Chase for 25 extinguished the last flicker of hope in the run-chase.

Short pulled up short with a hamstring strain and is unlikely to feature in Australia’s line-up for the series finale at Manuka Oval on Tuesday.