The stadium was full after the prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines declared a public holiday following the Windies’ win over Australia two days ago and the teams produced an epic match to fit the occasion.
From a seemingly hopeless position, Windies clawed their way back to the brink of victory, only for Australian fast bowler Brett Lee to run out West Indian captain Darren Sammy with the scores locked on 220.
“We believed we could beat them. We should have won today,” Sammy told reporters.
“It shows the belief of the team … I won’t put the blame on anybody.”
Mike Hussey (67), named man of the match, and George Bailey (59) scored half-centuries for Australia before the touring side suffered a late batting collapse and were bowled out without using up their full 50 overs.
The Australians, who won the series opener by 64 runs but have struggled with the bat in the past two matches, looked set for a much bigger total when they passed 200 for the loss of just four wickets before the lower order crumbled.
“It’s a big learning experience, captaining in a game that is so tight,” Australian skipper Shane Watson said.
“We need to adapt and get better in these conditions.”
Windies looked to be in deep trouble early on in their run chase when they slumped to 78 for five in the 21st over before Kieron Pollard (36), Carlton Baugh (33) and Andre Russell (37) steadied the innings.
The Australians looked to have regained control when they finally got through the middle order and reduced the home side to 190 for eight and 204 for nine.
Sammy, batting intelligently with tail-enders Sunil Narine and Kemar Roach, levelled the scores with three balls to go but he was run out after a mix-up with Roach in which both men were stranded at the same end.
The fourth and fifth matches of the series will be held in the nearby Caribbean country of St Lucia, starting on Friday. (Reuters)