Trescothick sets up England's victory
England 262 for 5 (Trescothick 82, Strauss 66, Collingwood 49*) beat West Indies 261 for 6 (Sarwan 104*, Smith 39) by five wickets
England ended their long tour of the Caribbean on a high note with a five-wicket victory in the seventh and final one-dayer at Bridgetown. After Ramnaresh Sarwan boosted West Indies with a sparkling unbeaten century in their total of 261 for 6, England, thanks to a rasping 82 from Marcus Trescothick, cruised home with 16 balls remaining to level the series 2-2.
After Michael Vaughan won the toss and inserted the opposition, England started as they went on with a disciplined display with the ball and in the field. Sarwan threatened to blow them of course with his 104 not out, but an early fall of West Indian wickets, followed by a romping start to England's innings meant the result was rarely in doubt.
Trescothick's rocket-fuelled innings of 82 from 57 balls set the platform for England's victory. After Vaughan was unluckily given out caught behind for 14, Trescothick took charge. Not afraid to go the ariel route, he belted out shot after shot, displaying impeccable timing and placing. He raced to his half-century from only 36 balls, slapping nine boundaries in that time. He was particularly harsh on Ravi Rampaul and Merv Dillon. He frequently waltzed down the track to Rampaul, whipping him over and through the fielders on both sides of the wicket. Dillon got even rougher treatment, as he went for 17 in one over. Trescothick smashed him for three boundaries in that over, the last of which notched up his half-century. Dillon looked a broken man, going for 59 from his first eight overs.
Ricardo Powell was next in the firing line. He was caressed for two consecutive cover-drives, and Trescothick launched him for a huge six over mid-on in the final ball of the 15th over. However, just as Trescothick was threatening to score one of the fastest one-day centuries, he was stumped down the leg side by Ridley Jacobs off Chris Gayle (123 for 2). But, by that stage, the damage had been done.
Trescothick's typhoon meant that England could afford to take their time and do it in singles from then on. The main driving force was Andrew Strauss, who quietly went about his business on the way to his second consecutive one-day half-century. He had no choice but to take a back seat while Trescothick went bananas, but he then took responsibility while others fell around him. Content to work the slow bowlers in the gaps, he slowly began to open up with a few boundaries, including a delicate cut off Dillon, and a thumping pull of Ian Bradshaw. It would have been fitting if he had finished the job off, but he chopped Bradshaw onto the stumps for 66 with 12 overs remaining (218 for 5).
In that time, Rikki Clarke, who promoted to No. 4, failed to make an impression as he tamely patted Bradshaw to Dwayne Smith at short midwicket for 9 (146 for 3). Andrew Flintoff then drove Bradshaw through the covers, but he was caught and bowled by Sarwan, driving the ball on the up where the bowler took a good low catch (169 for 4). At that stage, England threatened to choke, but Paul Collingwood made sure it was West Indies who swallowed their pride.
He took advantage of some tired and dispirited bowling - and some shaky fielding - in his unbeaten 49. He heaved Shivnarine Chanderpaul's part-time legspin for six, and pulled Sarwan for two fours. He added an unbroken 44 with Chris Read, who thumped three fours towards the end to hurry England to victory before Collingwood hit the winning boundary in the 48th over.
England's win was thoroughly deserved, but it overshadowed another eye-catching knock from Sarwan, who at least gave his side a chance of victory after they had slumped to 90 for 4. While the other batsmen struggled to come to terms with the quick and bouncy pitch, Sarwan stood out and held the innings together. He scored 13 fours in all, cutting and driving beautifully, and running intelligently between the wickets.
He brought up his half-century from 60 balls and then continued to play shots all round the wicket. He smacked two imperious fours from Stephen Harmison to go the 90s, hit two more off Darren Gough to go 99, and scrambled a single to go through to his second one-day century. His innings also included a vital partnership of 69 with Smith, and that stand revived West Indies just when it looked like a mini-collapse was on the cards.
England's first breakthrough came in the sixth over when Chanderpaul clipped Harmison to James Anderson. Powell was then run out by a marvellous direct throw from Flintoff at mid-off (57 for 2), and Gayle, who looked in the mood for runs with four fours and a six, was undone by an Anderson yorker for 41 (57 for 3).
Sarwan and Lara set about repairing the damage. They had added a watchful 33 until Clarke struck gold with Lara's wicket in the 23rd over. Attempting to guide the bowler down to third man, Lara nicked the ball too near to Read, who flew to his left to take a stunning catch (90 for 4). Smith announced his arrival by flicking Clarke out of the ground, St Lucia-style. He again impressed with an entertaining cameo of 39 from 36 balls, including three fours and two sixes, before he was trapped lbw by Gough (159 for 5).
Dwayne Bravo again kept a cool head, keeping Sarwan good company for 18 balls until he played on to a full ball from Flintoff for 11 (193 for 6). Jacobs chipped in his own solid style, clubbing three fours and scoring a valuable, unbeaten 31 to lift West Indies further, but in the end it never looked enough.