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West Indies players exposed as Brian Lara identifies 'major concerns' in Aussie defeat

Brian Lara says the West Indies openers must improve as Alick Athanaze and Justin Greaves have combined for just 25 runs in the ODI series.

Pictured Brian Lara left
Brian Lara believes the side's top order needs to drastically improve after a poor showing across the opening two ODIs against Australia. Image: Getty

West Indies great Brian Lara says the Windies top order needs to drastically improve after a poor showing in the opening two One Day Internationals against Australia. The Aussies sealed the series on Sunday night with an 83-run win as the West Indies' struggles with the bat continued.

They disappointed in the first ODI, scoring just 231, and were then bowled out for 175 in the SCG fixture. Across both matches West Indies openers Alick Athanaze and Justin Greaves have managed just 25 runs combined.

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Lara was full of praise for Athanaze throughout the summer but admitted he has been disappointing in the ODI series. "(It's) a major concern, that's where they've got to look to, not necessarily make changes, but maybe have a stern talk with the youngsters up top," Lara said "At the beginning of the innings, they want to set the innings up properly and the West Indies in both matches were finding themselves in early trouble."

Alick Athanaze, of West Indies, celebrates his half century during the first one day international (ODI) cricket match between England and West Indies at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua and Barbuda, on December 3, 2023. (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP) (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)
Across two ODI matches against Australia, West Indies openers Alick Athanaze (pictured) and Justin Greaves have managed just 25 runs combined. Image: Getty (RANDY BROOKS via Getty Images)

But West Indies captain Shai Hope doesn't believe it's overly concerning, however, did admit his side needs to find a way to score runs more freely. "I wouldn't say it's too much (of a worry)," he said after the defeat in the SCG ODI.

"It was a challenging wicket as we saw. I think the Aussies bowled very well on this surface but we need to find a way to score a bit more freely, find a way to tick the ball over and put them under pressure a bit more."

Sean Abbott stars in Aussie victory

The Aussies wrapped up the three-match ODI series with a game in hand, as Sean Abbott starred for the home side. Australia slumped to 4-89 in the 16th over before Abbott made his way to the crease, salvaging the innings with 69 runs off 63 balls which included four sixes.

Abbott (3-40) was then instrumental with the ball as Australia rolled the West Indies for 175 to seal a comfortable win, in a game the Aussie all-rounder described as his best to date for the national side. "It's a game I'll remember for a long time," Abbott said after the match. "I leaked a few runs and bowled a noey (no ball) there, which wasn't ideal. But it was a nice night, a couple of catches too. I'm pretty chuffed."

West Indies fell to 3-34 after a full-length ball from Abbott drew an edge behind from Kjorn Ottley (8). Keacy Carty (40), West Indies' danger man at the MCG, fell similarly as Abbott's second scalp.

Abbott also took two brilliant catches to send opener Alick Athanaze (11) and then Romario Shepherd (6) packing. Veteran paceman Josh Hazlewood (3-43) was also impressive in his first ODI since last year's World Cup triumph, notably knocking over the ever-dangerous Shai Hope (29) to end a 53-run stand.

with AAP

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