St. John's - Eoin
Morgan’s 10th one-day international century provided the batting
foundation while seamers Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes took four
wickets each as England defeated the West Indies by 45 runs in the
series opener on Friday.
Extending an excellent run of form from the previous ODI series in
India in January, the England captain stroked a polished 107 to pace the
tourists to a competitive 296 for six.
Plunkett and Woakes then claimed four wickets each to thwart the home side’s effort for an upset victory.
Half-centuries by Jason Mohammed and Jonathan Carter were not enough
as the West Indies were dismissed for 251 in the 48th over, Plunkett
taking the final wicket to finish with his best ODI figures of four for
Woakes, who did the early damage to the Caribbean side’s batting, returned with four for 47.
"It was tough at the start out there but the rewards eventually came by sticking it out," said Morgan.
"I thought it was a dominant performance overall by us and we’ve set a high standard for the remaining two matches."
Accelerating from a painstaking start, Morgan timed the innings to
perfection in lifting his team to a competitive total after they were
put in to bat on a rain-interrupted morning at North Sound.
He faced 116 deliveries and struck 11 fours and two sixes after
coming to the crease with his side in early trouble after fast bowler
Shannon Gabriel removed opening batsman Jason Roy and new Test skipper
Joe Root in successive overs.
Sam Billings contributed 52 at the top of the order, but his demise
to Ashley Nurse was compounded when the off-spinner also accounted for
Jos Buttler via an excellent slip catch by Carter.
That dismissal brought in Ben Stokes and the aggressive all-rounder
did not disappoint, belting 55 off 61 deliveries with three sixes and
seizing the initiative from the West Indies with a 110-run fifth-wicket
partnership, ended by a catch at long-on off leg-spinner Devendra
Morgan reached three figures in fine style, hoisting Carlos
Brathwaite for a huge six over midwicket in the 48th over before the
bowler had the last laugh, running out the left-hander in the final over
of the innings.
Woakes and Plunkett reduced the West Indies to 39 for three in reply
before Mohammed featured in successive half-century partnerships with
Shai Hope and Carter to keep the hosts in with a fighting chance heading
into the final ten overs.
However, England’s perseverance paid off and when Mohammed was run
out for a top score of 72 in the 42nd over, the die was cast for the
West Indies despite a few bold hits by Carlos Brathwaite and Ashley
“I thought we competed well throughout the match but just too many
wickets to soft dismissals,” said West Indies captain Jason Holder.
“This is no time to drop our heads because we are encouraged by this effort and need to come back even stronger on Sunday.”