Cricket: Aussies hold on to level series

Australia withstood a marauding innings by West Indies captain Darren Sammy to secure a series-levelling victory in the final one-day international in St Lucia.

Hometown favourite Sammy belted 84 off just 50 deliveries, including six sixes to thrill a capacity crowd on Sunday but Australia held on to secure a 30-run victory that ensured the five-match series finished 2-2, with the third match tied.

In their best batting performance of the series Australia posted 9-281 after being sent in, with David Warner (69), Shane Watson (66) and Peter Forrest (53) all scoring half-centuries.

In reply the Windies were always on the back foot after a Brett Lee double-strike before Sammy combined with Andre Russell (41) to smash 101 runs off 59 balls for the eighth wicket.

Russell's dismissal halted the onslaught and Australia were able to close out the match to avoid their first ODI series defeat against the West Indies in 17 years.

Warner and Watson gave Australia the perfect start, adding 118 for the first wicket at a run a ball before Forrest held the middle overs together with his patient knock.

A decision to promote Lee to No.5 in a pinch-hitting role didn't work out with the fast bowler only scoring 12 but Matthew Wade's late cameo (26 off 17 balls) gave Australia momentum going into the break.

Allrounder Russell, who made several athletic stops in the field, claimed 4-61 off nine overs with Kemar Roach (3-53) and Sunil Narine (2-55) the other wicket-takers.

Lee (3-42) made a brilliant start with the ball, removing Johnson Charles and Marlon Samuels for ducks as he bowled three straight maidens to leave the Windies 2-7 after five overs.

A sickening collision between wicketkeeper Wade and Ben Hilfenhaus as the fast bowler claimed a high catch to remove Carlton Baugh left Wade on the ground in agony.

The Victorian recovered to see out the match but will be hoping any injuries he sustained aren't serious enough to rule him out of Tuesday's first Twenty20 match.

Baugh's wicket came when Australia were cruising to victory, the dismissal of Kieron Pollard for 33 shortly after leaving the Windies 7-118.

But that was before Sammy arrived to ensure a fitting end to a thrilling series.

- AAP

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