England thrash West Indies to level ODI series
NORTH SOUND, Antigua and Barbuda (AFP) — Sam Curran bounced back with a match-winning bowling display as England scored a series-levelling six-wicket victory over the West Indies in the second One Day International (ODI) in Antigua on Wednesday.
Curran was spanked for 98 runs off 9.5 overs on Sunday as England slumped to a four-wicket defeat in the series opener — the worst-ever performance by an England bowler in ODI cricket.
But the left arm seam and wing bowler responded superbly on Wednesday, bagging three of the first four wickets as the home side were bundled out for 202 off 39.4 overs in the day/night fixture.
Will Jacks then anchored the English response at the top of the order with 73 while there was a welcome return to form for Jos Buttler, the England captain taking his team to victory with an unbeaten 58 in an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 90 with Harry Brook (43 not out).
“It was tough the other day but just have to keep moving forward and try to bounce back,” Curran said after his Man-of-the-Match performance at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Curran’s opening burst and the support of Gus Atkinson reduced the West Indies to 23 for four.
But for a 129-run, fifth-wicket partnership between Captain Shai Hope (68) and Sherfane Rutherford (63), it would have been a complete capitulation by the hosts.
Spinner Liam Livingston then claimed the spotlight with the wickets of both Hope and Rutherford before swiftly adding another to also finish with three wickets.
Atkinson and frontline spinner Rehan Ahmed shared in the spoils with two wickets apiece.
For Hope, it was a case of the home side not responding to the early challenge.
“We didn’t play the situation smart enough and got ourselves into a deep hole. Now we’ve got to be ready for this final game.”
A measure of the recklessness displayed by the West Indies at the crease was that their innings folded with ten overs of the allotted 50 unused as successive players attempted to outdo each other in the extravagance of their strokeplay.
England openers Jacks and Phil Salt sped to 50 by the sixth over in reply. However, on a pitch offering considerable assistance for the spinners, Gudakesh Motie claimed two victims and at 116 for four, the tourists had some work to do.
Buttler and Brook eased those concerns though with the England captain’s first half-century in 15 innings taking him past the 5,000-run mark in ODIs, just the fifth Englishman to do so.
Hope will be at his home ground of Kensington Oval in Barbados for the decider on Saturday before the teams switch format and engage in a five-match T20 International series.