UWI Vice Chancellor's XI v England XI, Tour match, Antigua February 25, 2014

Root hits ton but Corbin makes England work

ESPNcricinfo staff

England XI 290 for 8 (Root 104*, Stokes 58) beat UWI Vice Chancellor's XI 261 for 7 (Corbin 105, Tredwell 3-39) by 29 runs

Joe Root warmed up for the one-day series against West Indies with an unbeaten 104 but England were given a scare by Kyle Corbin, who struck a powerful century, before they wrapped up a 29-run win at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

After compiling 290 for 8 on the back of Root's hundred, England made steady inroads into the UWI Vice Chancellor's XI once they broke a half-century opening stand and appeared to have the game completely in hand. However, 23-year-old Corbin, who has a List A average of 13.43, added 103 with Devon Thomas, who has played 21 ODIs, to give the VC XI an outside chance of reaching their target.

Thomas was bowled by Stuart Broad to bring relief to England but Corbin reached a 98-ball century and it was only when he found short third man off Tim Bresnan that the visitors were absolutely assured of not suffering an upset.

Root hit nine boundaries in run-a-ball stay as he anchored the innings from No. 4 following a brisk opening stand of 58 by the new-look pair of Alex Hales and Luke Wright.

In Australia, Root lost his place in the one-day side for two matches before returning for the final game in Adelaide where he hit 55, and this innings assures him of another run in the team as England look to begin the rebuilding after a debilitating few months.

With England's focus very much on Twenty20, regular one-day openers Alastair Cook and Ian Bell have remained at home so Hales is in line for his ODI debut on Friday. Wright was given the first opportunity to be alongside him, ahead of Michael Lumb or Moeen Ali, and struck the ball cleanly before finding deep cover.

Hales top-edged a pull to be caught and bowled after playing himself in then Root and Ben Stokes (58) added 68 in 12 overs. Stokes continued in the No. 3 role that he was promoted to during the one-day series in Australia and cleared the boundary four times before falling to Miguel Cummins, the pace bowler who made his ODI debut against Ireland at the weekend.

England's middle-order strokemakers, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler, could not get going, both falling lbw to legspinner Akeem Dewar. When Ravi Bopara fell to Raymon Reifer England had lost 4 for 50 and the innings was threatening to fizzle away.

However, Root and Bresnan added 62 in seven overs for the seventh wicket, Root dominating the partnership as he moved towards three figures.

Chadwick Walton and Adrian Barath gave the VC XI a steady start before James Tredwell struck with his first ball when Walton pulled a long hop to long-on and then had Paul Palmer caught at slip. The same bowler-catcher combination came together for a third time to remove Barath when Jordan was back at long-on.

When Broad and Bopara claimed a wicket apiece the VC XI were 143 for 5 and it appeared a formality for England, but Corbin kept them on their toes.

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  • Paulo on February 27, 2014, 11:34 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer again good points raised. However on Bopara, please dont forget his inability to finish of chases, and that he has played some absolutely abysmal innings this year. The Dublin match appeared to signal improvement; he was destructive, scored a hundred and finished off a chase with the help of Morgan. But subsequent innings appear to signal less of an improvement, but it is more an anomaly.

  • Mark on February 27, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    @CodandChips No sure about the burnout. He had only been playing international cricket for a few months when he was moved up the order from #6, where he had been successful, to opening. There were a lot of people warning that this was taking a big risk with him. I know he got one large score but, apart from that, he looked out of his depth and started to lose form and confidence rapidly. The Joe Root of this winter was being picked for ODIs more as a bowler than as a batsman, so low had his batting confidence dropped.

    He's a tremendous player, but he should stay where he has done well until those kinks in his technique that bowlers have been exploiting with the new ball get fixed.

    Bopara? I think that 2013 Bopara is a much better player than 2008 Bopara was. Good enough? Well, he has scored runs and taken wickets against some good sides in the last year and, when it has gone well for him, scored at a good clip too.

  • Paulo on February 27, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    @Derek Gift-Simms yes I know my 6 times table, and that 300 divided by 300 is 1, so what is your point? Were you being sarcastic, in the sense that England under Giles would never aim for a run a ball? Or do you honestly believe that 300 is some massive total which a team would be happy to get anywhere near?l

  • Paulo on February 27, 2014, 8:23 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer fair enough, but I don't like the fact that Bopara averages 31 at a strike rate under 80 in over 100 ODIs.

    Personally I feel the issue with Root is burnout. He's had barely any rest since 2012 CLT20.

  • Mark on February 27, 2014, 7:57 GMT

    @CodandChips A few weeks ago he couldn't score runs anywhere against anyone. A fifty in the last ODI. Some runs in one of the T20s. Century here. It's coming back. He's a fantastic talent, but has been messed around and the move up to open was a predictable (and predicted, but many as well as me) disaster. To me, it looks as if his confidence is coming back and this century will help.

    Not sure about writing off the rest of the side like that. It is not a bad team, but its confidence has been battered. Incidentally, on results in the last 12 months, I think that you will find that Ravi Bopara's contribution in ODIs has been far greater than Joe Root's. He has saved England more than once as a finisher and a bowler.

  • Android on February 26, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    Codandchips do you realise 300 runs is a run a ball?

  • Paulo on February 26, 2014, 17:56 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer "Joe Root again looks like an international batsman"- can you really say that after 1 warm up match and a 50 in the last ODI? PersonallY I reckon he still needs a rest, but he is one of the best batsmen in this poorly selected squad, therefore has to play. An exhausted Joe Root is better than Bopara or Wright imo.

  • Mark on February 26, 2014, 16:37 GMT

    @CodandChips I am not sure how much you can read into a 12-a-side game like this anyway. I think that it is fair to say that once England posted nearly 300 they always had the game fairly well under control and were probably not overly concerned. One suspects that the side took it fairly easy once the result seemed safe.

    That said, it is not a great performance by any stretch of the imagination. The one piece of good news is that Joe Root again looks like an international batsman, something that he has not done for around 8 months. The fact that James Tredwell has done reasonably well and that Chris Jordan has shown that at least one member of the side can catch, are bonuses... Alex Hales reached #1 in the ICC rankings and, in the tradition of English players before him, has struggled ever since, but we need to persist with him.

  • Nicholas on February 26, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    Keep Root in middle order - not a test opener!

    Morgan needs more than 7 runs to be considered for tests; until then, short-format specialist.

  • Paulo on February 26, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    No doubt this will be deemed a "great success" despite only narrowly beating a second rate team and failing to score 300. Ben Stokes is not a number 3. If Joe Root is to bat through surely he should be in the top 3. He can bat through then score quickly so I have no issue there. Morgan 5 and Buttler 6 are both wasted.

    1.Hales 2.Root 3.Ali 4.Morgan 5.Buttler 6.Stokes 7.Bopara/Bresnan/Wright (unfortunately one has to play) 8.Broad 9.Jordan 10.Parry 11.Gurney (just to give them experience).

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