| Andy Bichel celebrates the wicket of Brian Lara in the third one-dayer in St Lucia Wednesday. Australia won by 25 runs. (Reuters)
Castries (St Lucia): Australia coasted to a 25-run win over the West Indies in the third ODI Wednesday to take a 3-0 lead in the seven-match series.
The West Indies scored 233 for nine from 50 overs in reply to Australia’s 258 for four. It was the world champions’ 20th consecutive ODI victory.
Nathan Hauritz broke the backbone of the West Indies upper-order by dismissing Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle in quick succession.
It was a welcome return for the man who has remained on the sidelines since taking four wickets against Kenya in September, 2002.
The West Indies collapse was more a story of rash shot selection than a particularly impressive bowling performance. The home team lost three early wickets as their openers threw caution to the wind in their haste to make runs.
Devon Smith was caught behind off Glenn McGrath to put the hosts on 20 for one before Chris Gayle delighted the crowd with five fours and one six over mid-wicket.
Sarwan tried to follow suit but lofted Hauritz to deep extra-cover and was caught by Jason Gillespie.
Gayle barely played a stroke that was not a boundary attempt and it was no surprise when Michael Clarke caught him in the covers off Hauritz.
Andy Bichel removed Brian Lara for the ninth time since the Australians arrived in the Caribbean in April as the Windies captain dragged a delivery onto his stumps.
Wavell Hinds and Marlon Samuels provided a rare note of sobriety with a 65-run fifth-wicket stand.
The partnership ended when Samuels ignored the call of striker Hinds and gifted Michael Bevan a chance to run him out.
Ricardo Powell arrived at the crease and hit 26 runs off 11 balls, including two mighty sixes, before firing a Gillespie delivery for Clarke to take a difficult low catch.
Samuels was infected by the prevailing schoolboy spirit and fell to the same Gillespie-Clarke combination on the very next ball.
Andrew Symonds and Clarke had earlier hit 75 runs each to help Australia to an innings total of 258 for four.
They forged a resilient 99-run fourth-wicket partnership to stabilise an innings that was starting to look vulnerable at 79 for three after Lara had put the tourists in to bat. Omari Banks and Mervyn Dillon shared one each in the early session.