Windies get crushed by Victoria in tour opener

Published: Thursday, January 6, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne:The West Indies, playing their first match in over three months, crashed to a seven-wicket defeat to Victoria in a Limited Overs cricket match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

It was a far cry from the ICC Champions Trophy final at The Oval in London on September 25 when they scored a shock two-wicket win over England to prompt talk of an overdue Caribbean renaissance.

Nine members of that team played on Wednesday but the rust from the long layoff was evident throughout.

Matthew Elliott (87) and David Hussey (83 not out) put on 129 runs off 112 balls for the third wicket as Victoria raced to 205 for three and victory with 18 overs to spare.

Chris Gayle top-scored for the Windies with 33, yet he was back in the pavilion before the end of the fifth over after a 23-ball cameo that included 18 runs from paceman Michael Lewis's second over.

Six other batsmen -- including skipper Brian Lara -- reached double figures but none was able to press on to a sizeable score in the disappointing total of 201.

The Windies lost 63 for six in mid-innings and it was left to wicketkeeper Courtney Browne (18 not out) and Ian Bradshaw (28), with a ninth-wicket stand of 48, to ensure the bowlers were at least given something to defend.

"The players have played enough international cricket to do better than they did today," West Indies coach Bennett King said.

"Five of our top eight looked like they were in very good form and showed some very good signs but unforced outs can be really cruel to you and that's what we had today.

"We were playing a very good side but again I'd expect a lot better from our bowlers."

The West Indies need to improve quickly with only two games against Australia 'A' in Hobart on Saturday and Sunday before their triangular series campaign begins against Australia at the MCG on January 14.

"We've got a lot of work to do in the next week or so and with the week leading up to the VB Series we've got some good plans in place," added King.

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