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Australia thumps West Indies

Opener Shane Watson lashed a magnificent 126, his maiden century, and Australia rolled to a seven wicket win over the West Indies in the third one-day cricket international on Sunday.

cricket Updated: Jun 30, 2008 13:40 IST

Opener Shane Watson lashed a magnificent 126, his maiden century, and Australia rolled to a seven wicket win over the West Indies in the third one-day cricket international on Sunday at the Grenada National Stadium. Australia coasted to victory at 227 for three off 40.3 overs in reply to the home side's disappointing all out total of 223 off 48 overs.

Watson blasted 15 fours and two sixes off 122 balls to set up the series-clinching win for Australia, which now leads 3-0 with two matches remaining.

Captain Ricky Ponting supported well with 69 off 83 balls in a record-breaking partnership of 190 for the second wicket with Watson.

Earlier, captain Chris Gayle topscored with a boundary-studded 53 off 54 balls for the West Indies after they were sent in. Fellow opener Xavier Marshall (35), Ramnaresh Sarwan (31) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (32) also made useful contribution but the West Indies collapsed and lost its last eight wickets for 63 runs. Nathan Bracken took three for 26 off nine overs while new ball mate Brett Lee captured his 300th one-day wicket and ended with one for 36.

Andrew Symonds, back in the team after injury, claimed two for 42.

The West Indies struck early in Australia's run chase as Fidel Edwards uprooted Shaun Marsh's off stump in the first over. But Watson and Ponting made full use of a fine batting pitch to quickly dull the home team's mood.

"I'm just really enjoying my time. I just can't really believe that I'm back in the Australian team," the injury-prone Watson added.

"A year or so ago, things weren't looking that great but to be able to come out and get through some games and perform with the bat especially is a lot of fun."

The 27-year-old Watson cruised past fifty off 48 balls with three fours in one over from left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn. Ponting followed with a half century off 57 balls as the Australians treated a crowd of 6,500 to some dazzling strokeplay. Watson collected his maiden century with his 13th four, a pull through midwicket off Gayle's off-spin.

The West Indies managed to prise out Ponting and Watson before the end but the result was never in doubt after the pair established a new second wicket record partnership for Australia against these opponents.

Earlier, Gayle and Marshall gave the West Indies a solid platform in an opening stand of 86.

The pair was cautious early before blossoming with Gayle to the fore.

The left-hander blasted five fours and three sixes, including his 100th in one-dayers.

Marshall struck four fours off 65 balls.

Australia needed a slice of luck to make the breakthrough when Mitchell Johnson deflected a Marshall straight drive onto the stumps with non-striker Gayle short of his ground.

Marshall departed soon afterward as he charged Watson and edged to Luke Ronchi, who pouched a fantastic catch one-handed to his right.

The West Indies most experienced pair, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, revived the innings in a third wicket stand of 61.

But once Symonds claimed Chanderpaul, the innings declined terminally.

Chanderpaul hit two fours off 49 balls before he edged a cut to Ronchi, who held on at the second attempt.

Sarwan followed eight runs later as Symonds plucked a catch at extra cover off Johnson. The vice-captain, back from injury, hit two fours off 43 balls.

Symonds' off-spin also claimed Dwayne Bravo, who was leg before for seven.

The late order offered little resistance with only Denesh Ramdin (21) and Andre Fletcher (12) passing double figures. Bracken returned to clean up as Fletcher was stumped trying to charge and Ramdin under-egded onto his stumps.

Powell was run out by Lee's left-booted direct hit and last man Benn was castled by Bracken to end the innings.