Roy sets tone
LOSING CAUSE: Chris Gayle smashed 135 in 129 balls but it wasn’t enough.
(Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
CHRIS GAYLE’s six-hitting spree was in vain as the West Indies spilled a golden chance to beat world No.1 ranked England in a high-scoring daynight match before a capacity crowd at Kensington Oval, yesterday.
With the West Indies flooring as many as five catches, England, propelled by centuries from opener Jason Roy and Joe Root, achieved their highest ever run-chase to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match
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Gayle smashed 12 sixes and three fours in making 135 off 129 balls, his 24th ODI ton, while the West Indies hit a world record 23 sixes in posting 360 for eight off 50 overs.
But that total wasn’t enough as England, led by a brisk seventh century from opener Roy, sped to 364 for four off 48.4 overs to win with eight balls to spare.
Roy’s rollicking 123 was decorated with 15 fours and three sixes off 85 balls as he set the tone for England to notch the third highest ever run-chase in a one-day international and the highest total in 36 ODIs at the historic venue.
When Roy departed at 205-2 after 27 overs, Root rode his luck in fashioning 102, his 14th ODI hundred, which was adorned by nine fours off 97 balls after he was dropped thrice.
After sharing a 91-run opening stand in just 10.5 overs with Jonny Bairstow, who made a run-a-ball 34, Roy and Root solidified England’s position with a second-wicket partnership of 114 in just 16.1 overs.
Captain Eoin Morgan also contributed a fluent 65 off 51 balls, laced with four fours and three sixes.
Morgan linked up with Root to add 116 for the third wicket as the Windies’ bowlers were ineffective on a placid pitch, which yielded 724 runs.
While the England batsmen only hit six sixes, it seemed that sitting inside the stands wasn’t safe once “Universe Boss” Gayle went on his six-spree after a slow start.
Dropped on nine by Roy in pacer Liam Plunkett’s first over, Gayle shared a second-wicket stand of 131 runs with Shai Hope, who made an attractive 64 off 65 balls with seven fours and a six.
Darren Bravo also smashed four sixes and two fours in a breezy 40 off 30 balls, while debutant opener John Campbell batted positively for 30 off 28. Towards the end, Ashley Nurse hoisted three sixes in an unbeaten 25 off just eight balls.
After winning the toss and batting, Gayle was rather subdued as Campbell struck four fours and also swung seamer Chris Woakes for a six over mid-wicket before gifting his hand.
Once off-spinner Moeen Ali was introduced, Gayle opened his shoulders, nonchalantly lifting him for his first six over long-on Hope also hoisted Ali for a huge six over the Media Centre while Gayle deposited Punkett over mid-wicket for sixes – on top and over the Greenidge And Haynes Stand.
Gayle then followed a flat straight six off a full toss from Mark Wood with another maximum over mid-wicket before pulling Liam Plunkett over forward square and into the Party Stand Even a top-edge from Gayle’s bat, carried all the way over third man for six.
After leg-spinner Adil Rashid was belatedly introduced at 221-2 off 33 overs, Gayle swept him to long leg for four to move to 98 and duly posted his century off exactly 100 balls with a single off Woakes.
Shimron Hetmyer’s departure for 20 off 15 balls, caught at mid-off by Roy off Woakes and debutant Nicholas Pooran, taken inside the long-off boundary off Rashid for a duck, didn’t stop the flow of runs.
Bravo swung his first ball from Rashid over mid-wicket and into the Party Stand to announce his arrival.
Moeen came in for a hammering as Bravo swung him for a six into the Greenidge And Haynes Stand,
striking a spectator.
Gayle also launched Moeen for two more sixes in the same expensive over, which cost 27 runs as Bravo dispatched the final ball into the upper level of the same stand.
Following Bravo’s dismissal, Gayle continued his six-hitting amid a couple of near misses before eventually dragging a full-length delivery from Ben Stokes onto his stumps.
by EZRA STUART