Mor­gan’s ton helps Eng­land to vic­tory

New Straits Times - - Sport -

Eoin Mor­gan’s 10th one-day in­ter­na­tional cen­tury pro­vided the bat­ting foun­da­tion while seam­ers Liam Plun­kett and Chris Woakes took four wick­ets each as Eng­land de­feated the West Indies by 45 runs in the se­ries opener on Fri­day.

Ex­tend­ing an ex­cel­lent run of form from the pre­vi­ous ODI se­ries in In­dia in Jan­uary, the Eng­land cap­tain stroked a pol­ished 107 to pace the tourists to a com­pet­i­tive 296 for six.

Plun­kett and Woakes then claimed four wick­ets each to thwart the home side’s ef­fort for an upset vic­tory.

Half-cen­turies by Ja­son Mo­hammed and Jonathan Carter were not enough as the West Indies were dis­missed for 251 in the 48th over, Plun­kett tak­ing the fi­nal wicket to fin­ish with his best ODI fig­ures of four for 40.

Woakes, who did the early dam­age to the Caribbean side’s bat3t­ing, re­turned with four for 47.

“It was tough at the start out there but the re­wards even­tu­ally came by stick­ing it out,” said Mor­gan.

“I thought it was a dom­i­nant per­for­mance over­all by us and we’ve set a high stan­dard for the re­main­ing two matches.”

Ac­cel­er­at­ing from a painstak­ing start, Mor­gan timed the in­nings to per­fec­tion in lift­ing his team to a com­pet­i­tive to­tal af­ter they were put in to bat on a rain­in­ter­rupted morn­ing at North Sound.

He faced 116 de­liv­er­ies and struck 11 fours and two sixes af­ter com­ing to the crease with his side in early trou­ble af­ter fast bowler Shan­non Gabriel re­moved open­ing bats­man Ja­son Roy and new Test skip­per Joe Root in suc­ces­sive overs.

Sam Billings con­trib­uted 52 at the top of the order, but his demise to Ash­ley Nurse was com­pounded when the off-spin­ner also ac­counted for Jos But­tler via an ex­cel­lent slip catch by Carter.

That dis­missal brought in Ben Stokes and the ag­gres­sive all­rounder did not dis­ap­point, belt­ing 55 off 61 de­liv­er­ies with three sixes and seiz­ing the ini­tia­tive from the West Indies with a 110-run fifth-wicket part­ner­ship, ended by a catch at long-on off leg-spin­ner Deven­dra Bishoo.

Mor­gan reached three fig­ures in fine style, hoist­ing Car­los Brath­waite for a huge six over mid­wicket in the 48th over be­fore the bowler had the last laugh, run­ning out the left-han­der in the fi­nal over of the in­nings.

Woakes and Plun­kett re­duced the West Indies to 39 for three in re­ply be­fore Mo­hammed fea­tured in suc­ces­sive half-cen­tury part­ner­ships with Shai Hope and Carter to keep the hosts in with a fight­ing chance head­ing into the fi­nal 10 overs.

How­ever, Eng­land’s per­se­ver­ance paid off and when Mo­hammed was run out for a top score of 72 in the 42nd over, the die was cast for the West Indies de­spite a few bold hits by Car­los Brath­waite and Ash­ley Nurse.

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