Port-of-Spain, May 24 (Reuters): Some fine stroke play by Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke helped Australia to an impressive 286 for five in the fourth one-day international against West Indies on Saturday.
The West Indies were 126 for three after 31 overs. Chris Gayle was batting on 61 with Brian Lara on 31. They need 161 more in 19 overs.
Two catches and a wicket for Ryan Hurley on his international debut were not enough to constrain the visitors, who lead 3-0 in the seven-match series.
Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden built a 78-run opening stand for the world champions, overcoming a fast and accurate opening spell from Mervyn Dillon and Corey Collymore.
Hayden hit five boundaries before pulling a Vasbert Drakes delivery to mid-wicket where the bowler’s nephew Hurley took the catch.
Ricky Ponting settled swiftly to the job of adding runs against an improved West Indies attack.
He signalled the move to accelerate the run rate with a big six over mid-wicket but after reaching 38 misjudged the pace of a Ricardo Powell delivery and gave Hurley his second catch on the boundary line.
Powell was given only one over despite taking one wicket for two runs.
Gilchrist began scoring runs freely, and chose Hurley as his victim. He smashed the off-spinner for a leg-side boundary and a leg-side six in the 36th over. But Hurley exacted revenge two overs later by clean bowling the left-hander to deny him century.
Collymore struggled to maintain his line and length, but clean bowled Andy Symonds when the right-hander attempted to hit across the ball.
Clarke pressed his case for regular selection with another fine innings. He hit two consecutive fours off Collymore then went one better with a four and a six off the same bowler two overs later.
Australia won the toss and elected to bat on a Trinidad morning that threatened rain but delivered only an innocuous spell of drizzle.
The West Indies missed three good chances in the outfield, including a golden opportunity from a pulled shot by Clarke, put down by the normally reliable Powell.