| Shane Watson celebrates after dismissing Andrew Flintoff on Sunday. (Reuters)
Melbourne: Australia fast bowler Brett Lee ripped the top off the World XI’s batting line-up to lead his side to a massive 156-run victory in the third and final one-day International on Sunday.
The win completed a clean sweep for the world champions at Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium after 93 and 55-run victories in the previous two matches.
Lee’s devastating opening spell of three wickets for 21 in five overs ensured the World XI were never in the hunt for Australia’s 293 for five. They were bowled out for 137 in 27.5 overs.
The 28-year-old, who dismissed Jacques Kallis (2) and Brian Lara (0) off successive balls, returned to take the wicket of Rahul Dravid (16) and finish with figures of four for 30 off nine overs.
All rounder Shane Watson followed up his unbeaten 66 in an unbroken 145-run sixth-wicket partnership with Mike Hussey (75 not out), with figures of four for 39 off 7.5 overs.
The 24-year-old Watson, who was named Man of the Match for the second time in the series, also outsprinted Virender Sehwag down the pitch and dived full length to run the Indian opener out for 37 off his own bowling.
England allrounder Andrew Flintoff had sent a scare into the World XI camp when he was taken to hospital for X-rays on his right wrist after he dropped a sharp caught and bowled chance from Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
The 25-year-old was cleared of any injury and appeared not to be suffering discomfort when he batted and scored 21.
Of greater concern, however, for the World XI heading into the six-day Test match that begins on Friday in Sydney, must be the rusty form shown by Kallis and Lara.
Kallis has scored 21 runs in his three innings, while Lara has a total of five, all scored in Friday’s second game, and faced just 13 balls.
Earlier, Hussey and Watson had arrested a slump by Australia when they lost three middle-order wickets for five runs after World XI spinners Daniel Vettori and Muttiah Muralidharan slowed the run rate. Ponting had won the toss and chosen to bat for the third successive game and while the World XI took the early wickets of Michael Clarke (3) and Adam Gilchrist (32), they were unable to force the advantage.
Ponting combined in an edgy 85-run partnership with Damien Martyn completing his 47th ODI half century, after Flintoff dropped him on 41. He was caught at midwicket by Lara off Muralidharan for 68.
His dismissal at 143 for three sparked a mini collapse when Andrew Symonds was caught behind by Kumar Sangakkara off Muralidharan for one to leave the Australians 146 for four.
Martyn then became the first player to be dismissed under an experiment allowing the on-field umpires to refer all decisions to a third official watching television replays. He was trapped leg before by Vettori for 33.
Hussey and Watson steadied the Australian innings in the face of tight bowling from Vettori and Muralidharan to guide them to their total.