Third ODI at Bristol: England (369-9) beat West Indies (245) by 124 runs
David Franklin at Guerilla Towers
A hard-hitting 94 from Chris Gayle briefly threatened England's monumental 369-9 at Bristol on Sunday – but once he was run out by a lightning throw from Adil Rashid, the game petered out to a comfortable England win.
Gayle spent much of the innings as a reluctant runner between the wickets, preferring to deal in sixes – and lofting the ball hansomely into the flats behind the sightscreen on several occasions.
That reluctance to run, though, was his ultimate downfall – the only man in world cricket who habitually decelerates as he gets closer to the stumps, Gayle was run out for the second time this month by a direct hit from an England fielder. This time it was Adil Rashid, whose lightning throw was enough, by just a couple of inches, to see Gayle back to the pavilion.
Rashid, who had not bowled until that point, was immediately brought on by captain Eoin Morgan, and he proceeded to bamboozle the West Indies' tail into submission with figures of 3-34.
The pick of England's bowlers, though, was the impressive Liam Plunkett, who took his first five-wicket haul in ODI cricket and ended up with figures of 5-52. His wickets included the unfortunate Marlon Samuels, initially given 'not out' on the field after an appeal for caught behind, who was adjudged to have flashed the finest of nicks at a ball outside off-stump.
Most observers thought the tiniest of murmurs on UltraEdge would not be sufficient evidence to condemn Samuels, but third umpire Rod Tucker decided differently – and sent Samuels on his way for 11.
Jason Mohammed (38), Jason Holder (34) and Shai Hope (20) all contributed with the bat, but none could match Gayle's strike rate, and once he was run out the Windies were never likely to challenge England's score.
England will go into the fourth of the five-match series with an unassailable 2-0 lead, with West Indies needing to win both remaining games to salvage a draw.
Innings break: England 369/9 (Moeen Ali 102, Joe Root 84) West Indies won the toss and inserted the hosts on a sunny, if somewhat chilly Bristol morning.
The openers were watchful in the opening overs, with Holder and Taylor limiting scoring options to start with. Bairstow was the first to fall, following a smashed six with a top-edge back to the bowler. Hales and Root were able to pick up the pace a little before Hales was adjudged lbw on review for 36. Morgan spent more time walking to the crease than he did at it, falling for a golden duck.
Test captain Root and his henchman deputy Stokes then steadied the ship with a sparkling 132 run partnership, with both picking up speedy fifties with some impressive running between the wickets, the odd top edged 4 and an incredibly, checked drive 6 from Stokes.
In this time, the West Indies bowlers were left looking rather ordinary, especially Bishoo who went for so many runs he may as well have been plugged in to an agricultural milking machine and paraded in the Gloucestershire County Fair: he'd have been a certainty for a rosette. Only Nurse's early overs offered any real control, going for 10 runs from his first 3 overs, before even he was eventually given a bit of tap.
As is the way with England however, a mid-innings wobble hit when Stokes, Buttler and Root all fell within 3 overs of one another. Moeen and Woakes were able to pick up the pace for them again with more sharp running.
West Indies' best 2 bowlers had been Holder and Cummins, but in the 45th and 46th overs they each went for 25 runs, handing all initiative to England. In the 47th, bowled by Taylor, Moeen was dropped by Gayle and Woakes got a fluky 6 when Powell nearly caught him and tipped it over the boundary in a despairing effort to keep it in play.
Woakes fell for a run a ball 34, while his partner subjected the visitors to a flurry of massive hits into the crowd and brought up his century from 53 balls (including his 2nd 50 from just 12 balls). This bout of thwackery was brought to an end when the centurion gave 3 chances from 4 balls and was only actually caught at the final of those. The middle chance was a dolly of a catch, put down by the Universe Boss himself.
England kept up the pressure, even following the run-out of Liam Plunkett and finished on 369 for 9, a score that looks above par given the sometimes indifferent bowling and fielding displayed by the Windies, especially in the 2nd half of the innings.