A courageous, unbeaten half-century from Evin Lewis failed to inspire West Indies and Australia led by 51 not out from Matthew Wade won the decisive, third One-day International by six wickets.
Lewis defied retiring hurt on five in the fourth over after top-edging a delivery from Josh Hazlewood into his face to lead the way with five fours and three sixes in 55 from 66 balls before the Windies were bowled out for 152 in 45.1 overs in the day-night contest at Kensington Oval.
Needing a purposeful bowling effort to a One-day International bilateral series win over the Australians for the first time in 25 years, the Caribbean side met defiance from Wade, and he anchored the visitors to victory with 117 balls remaining.
The result meant the West Indies lost the three-match series 1-2, after they lost the first ODI by 133 runs last Tuesday at the same venue, where they rebounded to win the second ODI this past Saturday by four wickets.
It also meant that the Windies collected only 10 of the 30 points towards their effort to automatically qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 India – and the speed of their defeat in this match hurts their net run rate in the ICC ODI Super League.
Apart from Lewis, none of the other batsmen for the Caribbean side reached 20 and Mitchell Starc continued his fine form, taking three for 43 from 9.1 overs to be the pick of the Australia bowlers and end the three-match series with 11 wickets, making him a shoo-in for the Player-of-the-Series award.
West Indies, choosing to bat on an unreliable pitch, laboured to 37 for one after the first Power Play with Shimron Hetmyer bowled for six after playing on a delivery from pacer Hazlewood in the eighth over.
Five wickets – two to left-arm spinner Ashton Agar – between the 11th and 25th overs, mainly to ill-advised strokes, sent the Windies tumbling to 75 for six in the 24th over.
Lewis had returned in the 23rd over when his captain Kieron Pollard sliced a delivery from Starc and was caught at cover for 11, and the left-handed opener found Alzarri Joseph a steady ally and they shared 44 for the seventh wicket to add some respectability to the home team’s total.
There was token resistance from the rest of the batting and Lewis reached his 50 with a six over wide long-on off Zampa in the 45th over before Starc bowled Sheldon Cottrell for a duck with the first delivery of the next over to bring the innings to a close.
Left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein gave West Indies an early breakthrough, when he trapped Moises Henriques lbw for one in the third over, and Alzarri Joseph had Josh Philippe caught behind for 10, and Australia limped to 34 for two after the Power Play.
But the Windies failed to make further inroads into the Aussie batting with the visitors’ stand-in captain Alex Carey anchoring two modest stands of 38 with Mitchell Marsh and 34 with Wade to put his side firmly on course for victory.
Left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell had Marsh caught behind for 29 in the 14th over and leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr had Carey lbw to Walsh in the 21st over – and Australia stumbled to 99 for four.
But Windies failed to add to the wickets column with Wade sharing 54 – unbroken – for the fifth wicket with Player-of-the-Match Agar to take the Australians over the finish line.
WEST INDIES 152 off 45.1 overs (Evin Lewis 55 not out, Darren Bravo 18, Alzarri Joseph 15, Shai Hope 14, Kieron Pollard 11; Mitchell Starc 3-43, Josh Hazlewood 2-18, Adam Zampa 2-29, Ashton Agar 2-31).
AUSTRALIA 153 for four off 30.3 overs (Matthew Wade 51 not out, Alex Carey 35, Mitchell Marsh 29, Ashton Agar 19 not out, Josh Philippe 10).