NORTH SOUND – Ravi Bopara hit an unbeaten 38 and shared a match-winning stand with captain Stuart Broad to lead England to a tense three-wicket victory over the West Indies in their second One-Day International yesterday.
The pair added an unbroken 58 off 80 balls – the highest partnership of the match – to lift England from the uncertainty of 105-7 to a winning total of 163-7 off 44.5 overs.
Earlier at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Lendl Simmons hit an enterprising top score of 70 but England’s spinners bowled out the West Indies for 159 off 44.2 overs.
The 28-year-old Bopara batted with calm assurance and hit four fours. Broad lived a charmed life early on but ended 28 not out off 46 balls with three fours.
Left-arm spinner Stephen Parry captured 3-32 on his debut and earned the Man Of The Match award while off-spinners Joe Root (2-15), James Tredwell (2-39) and Moeen Ali (1-11) also impressed.
The West Indies, fresh off a victory in Friday’s opening match, had been in early peril after England won the toss and sent them in for the second straight match.
Root claimed Dwayne Smith (5) to a catch at midwicket and also removed Kirk Edwards (9) to a sharp slip catch from Tredwell.
In between, left-hander Kieran Powell (16) chipped a return catch to Ali.
Simmons shared successive half century stands with the Bravo brothers, Darren and captain Dwayne, to help revive the innings from 30-3.
Right-hander Simmons compiled his second straight half century and dominated a fourth-wicket stand of 51 with Darren, who eventually dragged on trying to guide Broad to third man at 81-4 in the 23rd over.
Simmons, who hit four fours and two sixes, then added 52 with Dwayne Bravo.
Bravo hit one four in 20 off 38 balls before a controversial stumping off Tredwell sparked a decline which saw the final six wickets fall for 26 runs.
Bravo was out of his ground but wicket-keeper Jos Buttler appeared to break the stumps with his gloves as the ball came loose from his grip.
After that, the lower order subsided meekly with the 28-year-old Parry, who earlier claimed Simmons to a catch in the deep, adding the scalps of Darren Sammy and Sunil Narine.
England’s run chase hit early trouble when Ali pulled pacer Ravi Rampaul to deep square leg and spinner Narine bamboozled and bowled Luke Wright for a duck at 30-2.
Michael Lumb, who hit a century on his debut last Friday, added 49 for the third wicket with Root to put England in command.
But the West Indies hit back emphatically to claim four England wickets for ten runs.
Left-arm spinner Nikita Miller, who took 2-28, started the slide by claiming Lumb (39) leg before and also removed Ben Stokes to a catch by wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin as the score dipped to 89-6.
In between, Dwayne Bravo took two wickets in two balls as Root (23) chipped a return catch and Jos Buttler gloved a lifter to Ramdin.
When Bravo’s athletic fielding ran out Tim Bresnan for 10, the West Indies were favourites with England still needing 55 to win with three wickets in hand.
Broad lived a charmed life early on. He was given out caught behind – but overturned on review, was dropped at slip by Bravo off Rampaul and twice more just cleared fielders as the tension grew among a crowd of 8 000, many of them touring English fans.
But the left-handed skipper eventually settled down and with the composed Bopara, the side’s most experienced pair saw their side home to level the three-match series 1-1.
The third match is at the same venue on Wednesday.