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Australia set 280 for West Indies to win in Tri-series opener

Written by: Staff

Kuala Lumpur, Sep 12 (UNI) A masterful 81 from Michael Clarke and quickfire 56 by skipper Ricky Ponting helped Australia pile up 279 for the loss of nine wickets against the West Indies in the first one-dayer of the DLF Tri-series at the Kinrara Oval here today.

Electing to bat first after winning the toss, Australia's new opening pair of Simon Katich and Phil Jacques struggled in the initial overs with West Indies opening bowlers Fidel Edwards and Ian Bradshaw keeping them tight on a pitch that was hosting its first match.

Australia, which rested experienced players like Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds, Matthew Hayden and Mike Hussey to give chance to youngsters, lost the first wicket on the fourth over when Jacques played Edwards away from his body just to see an inside edge setting his off stump cart-wheeling. Jacques could make only two and Australia were 10 for one in the fourth over.

It was, however, a different ball game as soon as Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting arrived at the fall of first wicket. He was at his belligerent best taking both the opening bowlers Bradshaw and Collins to task.

Ponting rocked on backfoot to cut an pull with aplomb whenever the bowlers pitched short. A few hundred spectators were served the best of Ponting as the Australian skipper showed his penchant for drives on the up as well.

The Aussie skipper raised run-a-ball fifty runs partnership for the second wicket with Katich who was happy to play second fiddle to his captain.

Ponting didn't put any brakes to his free scoring, hitting Bravo for consecutive fours to raise his 53rd ODI fifty.

Australia were past hundred in the same over and Ponting was threatening to take the match away from the Windies. But Bradshaw provided the lucky break for the Caribbeans by removing Ponting in the very next over.

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