Bairstow century steers England to a commanding victory
England coasted to a seven wicket victory with more than 11 overs to spare in the opening Royal London One-Day International at Emirates Old Trafford today.
After restricting West Indies to a well-below par total of 204-9, in a game reduced to 42 overs per side following a two hour delay due to a wet outfield, the England batsmen made light work of their task, Jonny Bairstow top scoring with a ODI career-best 100 not out to cement his place at the top of the order after once again being preferred to Jason Roy.
The performance underlined the strengths of this England line up with both bat and ball at the start of this five-match ODI series.
Alex Hales twice pulled Jerome Taylor for four in the opening over to set the tone of the England reply with 31 runs rattled up by the start of the 5th over before Hales, somewhat carelessly, cut Taylor to Evin Lewis at backward point after making 19.
It mattered not as Bairstow produced a splendid, risk-free, innings to put the result beyond doubt.
Bairstow reached his sixth ODI half century from 52 balls with ease and found solid support from fellow Yorkshireman Joe Root in a partnership worth 125 runs in 19.2 overs.
In fact the pair were never put under any real pressure during the run chase, Root reaching his half century from 49 balls but then chopping onto his stumps off Kesrick Williams for 54.
Eoin Morgan made 10 before edging Williams to wicketkeeper Hope but Stokes smashed 23 off 10 balls, ending the game with a six as England finished on 210-6.
Man of the Match Bairstow reached his century off 97 balls with 11 fours just before the end to cap a great day for both himself and for England who look a formidable outfit in this form of the game.
Once play started at 2.30pm, Chris Gayle-back in the West Indies fold-produced a short but lively innings to entertain those who had waited patiently during the morning delay.
Reprieved from the third ball of the match when Root spilled a reasonably straightforward edge at second slip off Chris Woakes, Gayle smashed the first six of the day in 3rd over, lofting Woakes into the stands at long-on before nonchalantly flicking David Willey for two more maximums in the following over.
It was imperious stuff that saw 45 runs arrive from the first 32 balls, but Morgan’s decision to turn to Moeen Ali as early as the 6th over quickly paid off when Lewis on 11 pulled the spinner to square leg where Hales held onto a sharp catch.
Gayle, playing his first ODI since the 2015 World Cup, followed soon afterwards for37 off 27 balls when Root made up for his earlier mishap with a quite marvellous catch over his shoulder at extra cover to give Woakes the wicket he missed out on earlier.
That dismissal left West Indies on 53-2 after 9 overs and the England attack reined in the scoring with some accurate bowling that saw no boundaries struck for seven overs before a bottom edge slash by Shai Hope off Willey flew between Jos Buttler and first slip to the third man fence.
In fact it took Hope and Marlon Samuels 14 overs to accumulate 50 runs before their partnership was broken when Hope pulled Ben Stokes to Bairstow at deep square leg after making 35.
Samuels followed quickly, given out on review for 17, after glancing Stokes down the leg side to wicketkeeper Buttler to leave the West Indies struggling to get their innings going on 107-4 in 26th over.
Jason Mohammed made 18 and Rouman Powell 23 without either ever really managing get to grip with England’s variations of pace on a slowish wicket, the visitors reaching 155-6 after 34 overs at the end of the second powerplay.
It was only due to an unbeaten 41 off 33 balls by skipper Jason Holder over the closing overs that the West Indies scrambled to a total of 204-9 with 15 runs coming off the final over.
Adil Rashid returned an impressive 2-31 from his 9 overs, Woakes 2-41 after returning from injury while Stokes finished with 3-43.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh