Melbourne: A maiden international century by Adam Voges led Australia to a 17-run victory over West Indies in the fifth one-day international on Sunday for a sweep of the five-match series. Voges made an unbeaten 112, eclipsing his previous highest one-day international score of 80, to help Australia overcome a disastrous start at 2-2 and reach 274-5 after being put into bat.
West Indies opening batsman Johnson Charles, a Twenty20 specialist, reached his first one-day international hundred and was out next ball as the West Indies lagged behind the needed run rate and were eventually all out for 257 with one ball remaining. Charles' previous-highest score in 10 one-day internationals was 45 but his innings on Sunday overshadowed that and established him as a batsman of considerable promise.
He batted from the first to the 37th over of the West Indies innings, showing composure in a trouble-strewn knock to keep his team in with a chance of a face-saving win. The 24-year-old Charles was dropped on 9 and again at 77 and was twice the beneficiary of the umpire decision review system. He was given out lbw on 79 but reprieved when the decision was reviewed by the television umpire. He also survived what seemed a convincing case for caught behind.
He batted steadily, if not spectacularly, to reach his century from 120 balls with eight fours and one six, though he was out to the very next ball, skying a catch from Clint McKay to Ben Cutting. Charles was trapped for 25 minutes in the 90s, and the West Indies dropped behind an already demanding run-rate. Innings of 45 from 62 balls from an untypically sedate Kieron Pollard, 19 from 18 balls by Devon Thomas and 23 from 18 from captain Darren Sammy prolonged the West Indian challenge, but the tourists eventually succumbed to a tough run chase.
They needed 83 runs from the last 10 overs - possible but difficult on a firm and bouncy pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and against tight bowling and enthusiastic fielding. With five overs remaining, the West Indies still needed 45 but, for the most part, they were held to singles.
Sammy hit two consecutive fours off Mitchell Johnson in the 48th over but that was the last flash of West Indian defiance. Earlier, Voges helped Australia recover from a horror start to produce a total which seemed beyond its grasp for most of its innings.
Australia lost their captain, Shane Watson, to the first ball of the match and had lost both openers with only two runs on the board as Tino Best produced an explosive opening spell. At the midpoint of its innings, the home side was still only 88-4. But Voges rallied the Australians, pacing the innings and reaching his century from only 97 balls with 10 fours and a six.
"Obviously great to be back in the side," Voges said. "Today was a dead rubber in terms of the series but when you're a fringe player there's probably no such thing. To get an opportunity and to do well today is great. Ever since the Big Bash league I've been in good form. I went well in that tournament and I've managed to kick on since then so I'm playing with some confidence now which is great."
West Indies' decision to bowl first seemed justified when Best claimed the wickets of Watson and Aaron Finch in the first two overs of his opening spell, in which he bowled at more than 150 kph (95 mph). Watson received a steeply rising delivery first ball and, seeking to parry it, chopped it from an inside edge onto his stumps. Finch was then out, caught on the fine leg boundary in trying to hook another short delivery from Best.
Phil Hughes (29) and the recalled Shaun Marsh (40) began to mount a recovery, putting on 61 for the third wicket but their progress was relatively slow against tight West Indies bowling. Sunil Narine managed to get through his 10 overs at a cost of only 27 runs and Darren Sammy, sharing the new ball with Best, bowled his 10 overs for 37 runs.
Hughes was out with the total on 63 and Marsh went at 83, leaving Australia still in a perilous position. But Voges turned the match with a dominant innings. He put on 111 for the fifth wicket with Brad Haddin (43), then plundered over 80 with James Faulkner from the last eight overs in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand.
Faulkner finished 31 not out, taking his runs from 25 balls with only two boundaries.