England takes first ODI in Antigua
England skipper Eoin Morgan fashioned his 11th ODI century leading his team to 45 run victory against the West Indies in the first One-Day International at the Sir Vivian Richards ground in beautiful Antigua.
Bowling first after winning the toss the boys from the Caribbean made early inroads when Shannon Gabriel trapped the in-form JJ Roy leg before and two overs later uprooted the middle and off stump of the prolific Joe Root before the visitors total reached 30.
Sam Billings and Morgan added 67 in fourteen overs, then Billings just after reaching his second ODI fifty smashed an Ashley Nurse delivery straight to Carlos Brathwaite who did well to hold on to the catch.
The England skipper worked his way into fluency then started to express himself, Together with Ben Stokes they advanced the score by 110 runs in eighteen overs before Stokes who had hit three sixes in a 61 ball 55 tried to take Devendra Bishoo deep and was caught by WI skipper Jason Holder.
Moeen Ali proved to be a useful partner for his captain with an unbeaten 22 ball 31, they took the total past 290 with a five over 53 run partnership.
Captain Morgan was magnificent stroking eleven boundaries and smashing two sixes scoring 107 from 116 balls before he was run-out in the last over of the innings.
Batting sensibly on a two-paced track with uneven bounce the visitors did well to post a challenging 296.
West Indies in reply started cautiously then young Evin Lewis pulled a rank long hop from Chris Woakes straight to Billings on the midwicket boundary placing the home team at 36/1. One over and one run later Kieran Powell, returning after a two-year absence during which he made an unsuccessful attempt at professional baseball, tried to turn the fifth ball he faced to leg, instead he got a leading edge and gave JJ Roy a simple catch at point. This was the first of Liam PLunkett’s four wickets.
One over and two runs later the West Indies were reeling at 39 for three when Kraig Brathwaite toe-ended a pull to Adil Rashid giving Woakes the second of his four wickets.
Shai Hope and Jason Mohammed started to rebuild the innings with a 69 run stand, then Hope slashed wildly at a wide ball from Rashid and the tall Steven Finn dove forward to take a very good catch at point.
Jonathan Carter and Mohammed gave the Caribbean side their best partnership scoring 82 in fourteen overs. Soon after Carter reached his fourth ODI fifty he attempted to pull a Liam Plunkett delivery and was brilliantly caught by Roy at deep square leg.
At 190/6 with Mohammed still going strong and the two big hitting all-rounders, Holder and Brathwaite still to come, the home team still had a puncher's chance at pulling off the upset.
However, Holder feathered a catch to Josh Butler behind the wicket off Plunkett.
When Finn demonstrated his football skills kicking the ball onto the stumps to end Mohammed excellent innings it was all over bar the shouting.
The thirty-year-old Trinidadian left-hander playing his fourth ODI after a long absence justified his selection with an excellent 72 decorated with seven boundaries.
West Indies were bowled out in the 48th over for 251 much to the delight of the mostly English crowd.
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