Root hails Eng­land’s strength

New Straits Times - - Sport -

Joe Root smashed an un­de­feated 90 as Eng­land claimed a four-wicket win over the West Indies on Sun­day but he was quick to salute Chris Woakes and Ja­son Roy who also hit im­pres­sive half cen­turies.

All-rounder Woakes was not out on 68 while opener Roy made 52 to help Eng­land chase down a 226-run tar­get and claim the se­cond one-day in­ter­na­tional and the three-match se­ries hav­ing won the opener by 45 runs at the same venue on Fri­day.

“Ja­son set the tone, and got us miles ahead of the rate,” said man of the match Root.

“I just told Chris to take his time to get in, and build to­gether. He played ex­cep­tion­ally well, and it’s a sign of a good team that we don’t rely on one or two play­ers.”

Eng­land were can­ter­ing to­wards their tar­get on the back of Roy’s bel­liger­ent half-cen­tury at 108 for two in the 21st over.

But then the spe­cial­ist spin­ners got the West Indies back into the match, trig­ger­ing a slide which saw four Eng­land wick­ets tum­bling for 16 runs.

Ash­ley Nurse re­turned his best-ever fig­ures of three for 34 while Deven­dra Bishoo claimed two for 43.

How­ever with fast bowler Shan­non Gabriel un­avail­able af­ter an open­ing three-over spell be­cause of a side strain, cap­tain Ja­son Holder re­sorted to part-time spin­ners on a help­ful track with­out suc­cess.

Woakes, the more ad­ven­tur­ous of the sev­enth-wicket pair­ing in a stand that put on an un­bro­ken 102 runs, was missed at long-on by sub­sti­tute fielder Rov­man Pow­ell off Car­los Brath­waite in what was the West Indies’ last real chance of stay­ing in the game and squar­ing the se­ries.

He was dropped again, by Holder at mid-off off Kraigg Brath­waite in the 47th over, by which time Eng­land were on the verge of vic­tory.

Root struck just three bound­aries in a con­trolled in­nings, his only blem­ish be­ing an edge off Bishoo be­tween the wick­et­keeper and slip.

“It was just about stay­ing calm be­cause we were so far ahead of the re­quired rate,” added Root. “Chris (Woakes) took a lot of the pres­sure off me with his ag­gres­sion.”

Fresh from claim­ing ca­reerbest ODI fig­ures (4 for 40) in the first match, seamer Liam Plun­kett played a key role in sti­fling West Indies’ quest to ac­cel­er­ate on a bright morn­ing.

He re­moved top­scorer Ja­son Mo­hammed (50) and Jonathan Carter (39) be­fore adding the scalp of Nurse to fin­ish with three for 32.

Leg-spin­ner Adil Rashid, apart from show­ing a safe pair of hands with the catches to dis­pose of both Mo­hammed and Carter, also ac­counted for dan­ger­ous big-hit­ters Holder, via a steepling catch of his own bowl­ing, and Car­los Brath­waite.

Fast bowler Steven Finn did the early dam­age to the West Indies in­nings on the same pitch used for the se­ries-opener.

Poor shot se­lec­tion con­trib­uted to Evin Lewis’ demise, a lead­ing edge giv­ing a sim­ple catch to Sam Billings at cover, while a mis­cued pull by new bats­man Kieran Pow­ell pre­sented Finn with the catch off his own bowl­ing that took him to the mile­stone of 100 ODI wick­ets.

Reach­ing the land­mark in his 67th match, he is the third­fastest English­man to the feat be­hind Dar­ren Gough and Stu­art Broad.

“We need to seize the op­por­tu­ni­ties that come our way,” Holder noted in re­flect­ing on bats­men fail­ing to cap­i­talise on good starts and also chances missed in the field in both matches in An­tigua.

“We keep los­ing too many wick­ets to poor shots at the top.”

AFP PHOTO

Eng­land’s Joe Root plays a shot in a One Day In­ter­na­tional se­ries match against West Indies in St. John’s, An­tigua on Sun­day.

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