Bairstow blows Windies away with another ton at the top of the order
Bairstow hits second ton as opener for England to secure 4-0 series win
Jonny Bairstow bagged his second ton of the five-match ODI series as England set aside controversial distractions to end their longest summer with a nine-wicket win and 4-0 clean sweep over the West Indies.
Eoin Morgan’s men could perhaps have been forgiven for trudging to the finish line after the arrest of Ben Stokes on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm, and his and Alex Hales’ subsequent suspension from international fixtures until further notice.
But England limited the tourists to 288-6 despite Shai Hope’s 72 and then – underpinned by Bairstow’s 90-ball century, and 96 from opening partner Jason Roy – chased with unerring ease and 12 overs to spare.
A second successive century opening stand put them on track, Roy missing his hundred for the second time in three days since returning in place of Hales and Bairstow (141 not out) then completing the job with England’s highest individual score against the Windies. England’s Test wicketkeeper has therefore made an admirable start to his new vocation as 50-over opener, having hit his second ton already in only five innings so far.
His opposite number Chris Gayle had earlier taken 15 balls to register his first run, a single to cover off Jake Ball, after the Windies were put in. But the ‘Universe Boss’ then launched a remarkable sequence of hitting off the same bowler, registering 6-6-6-6-4-6 from successive deliveries spread over two overs.
England needed to get him quickly, and Tom Curran had the answer with a brilliantly-disguised backof-the-hand slower ball that saw the batsman sky the ball to Liam Plunkett who took an athletic catch running back from mid-off.
Plunkett doubled up with another outstanding catch, this time off his own bowling, as he got down low to hold a Kyle Hope straight-drive with his left hand.
A curiously unproductive partnership followed between Shai Hope and Marlon Samuels in which they managed a solitary boundary between them from 122 deliveries.
There was no pay-off from Samuels either, stumped on the charge at Moeen Ali.
But Hope cashed in on two lives, dropped on 32 and 61 by Morgan and then Root. He finally hit his first four from his 78th ball and duly made it three in three before eventually holing out on the cover boundary off Ball.