4th ODI: West Indies 356-5 England 258-5 (Moeen 48*, Buttler 43*) England win by six runs on DLS method
Evin Lewis staked his claim as Universe Boss-elect with a storming innings that dug West Indies out of a hole but it was not enough to claim victory for the tourists at the Oval, with England grateful for the efforts of the recalled Jason Roy and the inspired Moeen Ali who clinched the series with a little help from the Duckworth-Lewis system.
Lewis, who marked his arrival on the international stage with a stunning T20 international century against India earlier in the summer, smashed an extraordinary 176 from 130 balls – with England only able to rid themselves of his menace via a stretcher in the closing overs..
The left-hander paced his knock superbly, barely breaking sweat on his way to a century from 94 balls – before erupting to smash all of his seven sixes from the next 36 balls. He also hit 17 fours.
His spree lasted until the 47th over when, with a double century in his sights, he drove a full ball from Jake Ball into his right ankle and after lengthy treatment had to be carried from the arena. He was later found to have a hairline fracture.
And all this after West Indies had been reduced to 33 for three due to a devastating opening spell from Chris Woakes.
Chris Gayle, who seems ready to hand his powers as the cricket galaxy’s chief executive to his opening partner, edged his fourth ball to Joe Root at slip and – unlike in the first ODI – the England Test captain held on to the catch away to his left. Shai Hope, so impressive in this year’s Test series between the two nations, immediately looked in good nick but soon feathered through to Buttler. Hope went off shaking his head after he reviewed the decision but UltraEdge indicated contact
Marlon Samuels moved too far across his stumps and was trapped leg-before.
It took a certain amount of patience for Jason Mohammed and Lewis to relay the foundations but Lewis, without doing anything too risky, always kept his own strike-rate above a run-a-ball. He was especially strong off the back foot, powerful drives revealing an appreciation of his calypso heritage.But there were shots all round the wicket, cover drives and cuts mixed with fluent swings and pulls into the stands on the leg side..
When Mohammed cut Adil Rashid – his thick edge was well snapped up by Jos Buttler – the pair had added 117 in 22.1 overs. But the West Indies only increased their momentum as Jason Holder, who had promoted himself to No 6, found his timing right from the outset.
He threaded a couple of finely struck drives through the covers before opening up with a series of sixes – four in all – which took him to 77 from 62 balls before he was the last man out. He and Lewis added 168 in under 18 overs – from overs 41 to 45 they scored 87, the most runs at that stage since records began. Mooen Ali suffered most, disappearing for 25 in one over but the other four went for 15, 15, 15, and 17.
England went off quickly in reply, with Roy, back at the top of the order in the absence of Alex Hales, embroiled in inquiries into the incident involving Ben Stokes in Bristol, determined to make the best of the unexpected opportunity. The renowned power and timing, curiously missing from Roy’s game this summer, were back and he picked off boundaries through mid-wicket and square leg as Jerome Taylor and his captain Holder, bowled the best part of the batting powerplay.
One drive, on the up, eased between cover and extra, showed just how much Roy’s off-side play has improved in the last couple of years. He had hit eight fours when he reached fifty, from 46 balls, and when the England hundred came up at the end of the 15th over, Roy had 70 of them.
Bairstow, who had displaced an out-of-touch Roy as Hales’s partner at the end of the Champions Trophy, was happy to play second fiddle, dropping the ball close to him to claim quick singles -nobody in the England set-up runs as well between the wickets as this pair. – or guiding down to third man
When England lost their first wicket – Roy edging as he too tried to obtain a jabbed single in that direction – they were well in touch with the required run-rate at 126 in the 18th over. That, though, heralded a remarkable period of cricket in which England lost five wickets for 55 runs, all to Alzarri Joseph, last seen underwhelming in the day/night Test at Edgbaston.
Bairstow’s dismissal was not unlike that which brought Roy’s downfall, Root toe-ended an attempted pull, Morgan pulled down to substitute Kai Hope, who took a fine catch above his head at long leg and Sam Billings’ leading edge was scooped up brilliantly by Gayle at a wide slip.
However, Buttler and Moeen, the latter still looking in imperious form after his 53-ball hundred in Bristol, ensured that England remained in the hunt, taking their team from 181 for five to 258 as the rain began to fall.
It was a good job that Mooen was in such touch as England had lost touch with the Duckworth/Lewis target when he came to the crease. But he was harsh on off spinner Ashley Nurse, posting two sixes and a four in successive balls and with Buttler chipping in with a lovely ramp shot to fine leg, the were able to force their way into positive territory.