Brathwaite, Lewis find form in Windies defeat

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SOUTHAMPTON, England (CMC) – All-rounder Carlos Brathwaite and opener Evin Lewis tuned up for the imminent World Cup with up tempo half-centuries, but Australia overpowered West Indies to win by seven wickets in a practice match at the Rose Bowl in England on Wednesday.

Sent in, West Indies were dismissed for 229 in the 47th over with Brathwaite lashing a top score of 60 from 64 balls and the left-handed Lewis stroking exactly 50 from 54 deliveries.

Sunil Ambris, not a member of the World Cup squad, chipped in with 37 while Shai Hope got 21, but the Windies never found top gear after finding themselves 119 for six at the halfway point of the innings.

They were kept in check throughout by off-spinner George Maxwell (2-14) and pacers Nathan Coulter-Nile (2-25) and Mitchell Starc (2-34).

In reply, former captain Steve Smith carved out a polished 76 from 84 balls and Shaun Marsh finished unbeaten on 55 off 59 deliveries, as the Aussies cruised to an uncomplicated target in the 39th over.

Opener Aaron Finch struck 42 off 47 balls to give Australia a handy start to their run chase.

Playing ahead of their opening World Cup match against Pakistan in nine days, the Windies were handed a solid start by Lewis and Hope who put on 39 off 41 balls for the first wicket.

Hope played imperiously in his brief 23-ball innings, punching two fours and two sixes before gloving a leg-side catch to wicketkeeper Alex Carey, after failing to handle a short ball from speedster Pat Cummins in the seventh over.

When Darren Bravo (5) dragged on a loose drive at Coulter-Nile in the 12th over, West Indies lost wickets steadily, with five going down for 46 runs to leave the innings tottering on 104 for six in the 22nd over.

Shimron Hetmyer top-edged a pull at Coulter-Nile and was taken at fine leg for 11 while Lewis played back and was trapped lbw on his crease by Maxwell after belting six fours and a six.

Nicholas Pooran (5) and Andre Russell (5) both perished cheaply in successive overs, leaving Brathwaite and Ambris to mount a 74-run, seventh wicket partnership and spare the Windies further blushes.

Brathwaite played extravagantly, hitting five fours and three sixes – including one that landed in an adjacent golf course – while Ambris faced 46 deliveries and counted three fours.

Ambris eventually fell in the 36th over, hooking Starc to fine leg, and Brathwaite followed in the 42nd over after adding 35 for the eighth wicket with Fabian Allen (12), holing out to wide long on off left-arm seamer Jason Behrendorff.

The Aussies then batted well in partnerships to complete the result, as Smith posted 53 for the second wicket with Finch before adding 109 for the third wicket with Marsh.

Smith counted seven fours and two sixes while Marsh notched seven boundaries.

West Indies, currently involved in a preparation camp here, will take on South Africa in the first of their two official warm-ups in Bristol on Sunday.

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