Cricket-Pollard slams pitch as Australia cruise to series win

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - West Indies v South Africa - ICC Champions Trophy 2013 Group B - SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff - 14/6/13 West Indies' Kieron Pollard Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Peter Cziborra

(Reuters) - Australia handed the West Indies a six-wicket defeat on Monday to clinch a 2-1 one-day international series win and leave home captain Kieron Pollard criticising the quality of the pitch in Bridgetown.

The Australians cruised past their modest target of 153 runs with just over 19 overs remaining as Matthew Wade top scored for the tourists with 51 runs, ensuring stand-in captain Alex Carey led the team to a series victory.

"I think both teams struggled on the pitch and I think that's unacceptable for international cricket," said Pollard, whose team were bowled out with more than four overs remaining.

"We're not going to make excuses. We accept that we batted badly but I don't think the scores that we have gotten in this three-match series, with two top international teams, I think that's very embarrassing for us as a people."

All five Australian bowlers claimed wickets with Mitchell Starc taking three for 43 while his new-ball partner Josh Hazlewood took two for 18 from eight overs.

There was joy, too, for spinner Ashton Agar, who relished the conditions as he claimed two wickets for 31 runs in his allotted 10 overs.

The West Indies struggled with the bat, with only opener Evin Lewis making a significant contribution against the tourists with a knock of 55 runs.

Lewis' innings came after he had been temporarily forced from the field having played a ball from Hazlewood onto his own helmet with the West Indies at 14 without loss.

By the time he returned following Keiron Pollard's dismissal, the hosts were 71 for five and although Lewis continued to offer resistance, he was soon left unaccompanied at the crease with the West Indies all out for 152.

That total caused the Australians few problems, with Carey steadying his team after the early loss of Moises Henriques and Josh Philippe before Wade and Agar combined to lead the tourists to victory.

"Personally and collectively it's really exciting," said Carey, who replaced Aaron Finch as captain after he returned to Australia with a knee injury.

"It's tough to leave home during a pandemic and the commitment that this group has shown, it's fantastic to see a result go our way tonight.

"I thought the bowlers did a great job. I think there were some good innings throughout the series."

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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