England v West Indies (Royal London ODI Series)
England returned to Old Trafford the home of Lancashire County Cricket Club for the start of the Royal London ODI Series against the West Indies. The visitors included Chris Gayle in their starting line-up for the first time in two years, as they look to win all five of the One Day International’s to gain an automatic 2019 World Cup place.
Despite the bright sunshine, the match was delayed for two hours and started at 2.30pm due to a sodden outfield. The West Indies won the toss and elected to bat first with Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis opening the batting at the crease.
England started well and should have taken a wicket with only the third ball of the innings when the returning Chris Gayle edged a Chris Woakes delivery to second slip only to see test captain Joe Root put the chance down.
Chris Gayle was looking to make the most of his time at the crease hitting three sixes and two fours off Woakes and his new bowling partner David Willey. Gayle was out going for another six over mid-on which Joe Root held whilst running back from extra cover.
The West Indies struggled to build momentum in the middle overs as they lost regular wickets to some disciplined England bowling, from Stokes (3-43) & Adil Rashid (2-31).
The tourists went from 149-4 to 187-8 and needed captain Jason Holder to stead the ship with an unbeaten forty-one. It was Holder who hit all five of their boundaries in the final 10 overs of the innings, as the West Indies limped to 204 off 42 overs.
Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales opened the batting for England with Alex Hales the first to be dismissed caught on nineteen by Evin Lewis off the bowling of Jerome Taylor.
The wicket brought Joe Root to the crease and the Yorkshire pair went on to break a couple of records, the first being England’s joint highest second wicket stand in an ODI at Old Trafford and the second being the third highest second wicket stand in an ODI match against the West Indies.
England continued to pressure the West Indies for the rest of the innings with Joe Root hitting 54 runs from 53 balls, Ben Stokes hitting 23 runs from 10 balls and opener Jonny Bairstow hitting 100 runs from 93 balls. England finished the innings on 210 for 3 from just 30.5 overs.
Speaking after the match England captain Eoin Morgan said,”I thought we came back really well with the ball once we adapt to conditions with the slower balls and variations, this left us with a relatively not-too-hard target to chase down.
Joe Root dropped Chris Gayle in the first over but he doesn’t drop many catches and you’ve just got to try to give him more chances, the bowling unit put in a really good benchmark for the start of the series. Then there is Jonny Bairstow who batted through the whole innings and was rewarded with a century, Man of the Match performance.”
This defeat means the Windies, ninth in the International Cricket Council’s ODI rankings, can no longer automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup and must enter a qualifying tournament in 2018.
The two sides will now travel to Nottingham were the second Royal London ODI match will take place at Trent Bridge as the home nation looks to continue its winning run.
England Cricket Club – Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, David Willey
West Indies Cricket Club – Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Marlon Samuels, Jason Mohammed, Rovman Powell, Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse, Jerome Taylor, Devendra Bishoo Kesrick Williams
Umpires – Simon Fry, Robert Robinson, Rodney Tucker, Robert Bailey, Javagal Srinath