The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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West Indies look to turn the tide

Port-of-Spain: Skipper Brian Lara has urged his top-order batsmen to apply themselves in the first 15 overs and give the West Indies the chance of stopping the Australian juggernaut in the ongoing series.

The World Cup champions extended their unbeaten one-day International sequence to 20 games with a 25-run win over the West Indies in St Lucia Wednesday and will wrap up the seven-match series with victory in either of this weekend’s matches here.

The Windies have lost their last 10 one-dayers against Australia, but Lara knows what needs to be done if his team is not to play second-fiddle again to Ricky Ponting’s high-rolling squad.

“In two of the three matches, we lost in the first 15 overs when we were batting and losing too many wickets… so us batters up front need to apply ourselves a lot better,” Lara said. “We should not be losing wickets during that period.”

Lara will have to share the blame having managed scores of 23, 5 and 4 in the series so far.

“Of course, they’ve dominated at least two of the three matches and we have to find a way to turn things around,” he said. “We’ve got four matches ahead of us.”

The West Indians stacked their team with nine batsman in the last match but still failed to get the better of Australia’s strong bowling attack.

Ponting said his team’s winning sequence would inevitably end, but hopefully not this weekend as the Australians attempt to wrap up the series.

“We’re playing well, if we stick to the basics and keep doing them well, we know we are going to be competitive in most games, so that’s what we are focussing on,” he said.

The Australians have been unbeaten in one-day Internationals since losing to Sri Lanka by 79 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground January 9 this year.

Their domination culminated in the World Cup in southern Africa when they beat all comers to retain the game’s most coveted prize. Particularly authoritative was the way they demolished an in-form India by 125 runs in the Johannesburg final on March 23.

With complacency increasingly becoming a threat to the all-conquering Australians, coach John Buchanan has warned his players not to even contemplate a clean sweep of the seven-game series. (AFP)

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