West Indies v England, 3rd ODI, Antigua March 5, 2014

England survive Ramdin onslaught to take series


England 303 for 6 (Root 107, Buttler 99, Moeen 55) beat West Indies 278 (Ramdin 128, Bresnan 3-45) by 25 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Dobell: Root and Buttler are England's future

For the first time since September, England have won two matches in a row - with starring roles for two young batsmen - though it was not without some tension towards the end as Denesh Ramdin flayed the ball around the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium for a career-best 128, but ultimately West Indies' under-performing top order had left too much to do.

Ramdin's was not the first maiden hundred of the day; and it was Joe Root's that finished on the winning side. Two players viewed as central to England's rebuilding formed the most substantial part their success as Root, battling the pain of a damaged thumb, and Jos Buttler added 175 for the fifth wicket although it turned out more of those runs were needed than appeared likely at one point in West Indies' chase.

At 43 for 4 it needed something of James Faulkner in Brisbane and Shahid Afridi in Mirpur combined to turn the innings around. It was not far off emerging. For a while Ramdin and Darren Sammy threatened with a stand of 71 in 10 overs, then Ramdin continued the charge with the first hundred by a West Indies keeper in one-day cricket, reached with his third six off Stephen Parry. He took advantage of England's persistence at bowling short, fetching sixes on both sides of the wicket, and there was a lesson for the bowlers when Bresnan finally ended the chances of an incredible turnaround with, yes, a yorker that hit leg stump.

On a surface being used for the third time in a row, but that defied expectations having been extensively worked on between matches, strokeplay was easier than at any time in the series. West Indies will rue that none of their top four could provide a similar role to Root because Ramdin's late onslaught reminded, yet again, that asking rates of over ten an over are achievable with wickets in hand.

Root's hundred came off 112 balls and was another window into the character of a 23-year-old who, like many, endured a tough time in Australia where he lost his place in the Test and one-day sides. Buttler appeared set to join him with a maiden century but, facing Ravi Rampaul in the final over, got a leading edge so had to settle for 99 off 84 balls. Their impish partnership, pock-marked by Buttler's strong hitting in the latter stages, was England's second highest for the fifth wicket in ODIs. Root's fine day continued when he struck in his first over with the ball but he soon had to leave the field to have ice treatment on his thumb and be sent for an X-ray.

England's innings was in the balance at the midway mark, West Indies having removed four wickets to even out Moeen Ali's maiden half-century - a fluent innings ended by a return catch to Nikita Miller - but, after Eoin Morgan had been beaten by Sunil Narine's spin, Root and Buttler ensured England did not stall from a potentially tricky 116 for 4.

There was a key moment when Buttler had 22 and successfully overturned a caught behind decision, despite there not appearing to be conclusive evidence to do so, and earlier Root had been given a life on 23 when Ramdin could not gather an outside edge off Narine.

England played Narine cautiously for most of his allotment but his ninth over cost 21 as Buttler twice cleared the boundary - the second occasion off a free-hit. The batting Powerplay had not proved to be the downfall it so often seems, bringing a consolidating 36 in the five overs, which set up a final 10 overs that accrued 94.

Root had started his innings facing a hat-trick delivery from Dwayne Bravo after the West Indies captain had removed Michael Lumb and Ben Stokes. He calmly defended the delivery but was in some severe discomfort a short while later when a ball from Rampaul climbed at him from a good length, striking a nasty blow on the thumb of his bottom hand.

He needed several minutes of treatment, some strapping and a dose of painkillers before resuming and then had to ensure his thumb did not seize up during a brief rain break. He continued to shake his hand throughout the innings, especially when the ball struck higher up his bat, but in a tremendous display of focus and application did not let it impact his strokeplay.

Buttler had missed out in the first two matches of the series when his finishing skills were needed, but in this innings reminded that he can set a total as well as hunt one down. Early on he still barely knew what Narine was bowling, but reigned in his ambitions to attack him knowing that there was easier fare on offer from the other end.

After bringing up his fifty off 56 deliveries he then opened his shoulders to pick up four sixes, forming an ideal contrast to Root who, while possessing the power to clear the ropes, played the anchor role and ran West Indies ragged.

West Indies' chase began in fairly shambolic fashion; Kieran Powell missing a sweep and Dwayne Smith picking out deep square-leg against Stuart Broad's first ball. Broad bowled a lively five-over spell, which included a heated four-ball period against Lendl Simmons, who Broad was convinced had edged behind and was flabbergasted when the TV umpire, quite understandably, upheld the not-out decision.

"Come on lads, guilty shot coming," shouted Buttler from behind the stumps and three balls later Simmons dragged a pull into his stumps, much to Broad's delighted, although it could easily have been classed a 'poor shot' as much as a 'guilty shot'.

Unlike Buttler, a caught-behind decision off Marlon Samuels was upheld and when Dwayne Bravo edged Ravi Bopara behind the requirement was 173 off 20 overs. To start with there was a sense of hopeful dash in the way Ramdin and Sammy played, but such was their impact that the run-rate - if not the wickets in hand - was not unmanageable and there was relief for England when Ben Stokes took a superbly judged boundary catch at deep square-leg to remove Sammy.

Ramdin continued to swing freely but he could not rely much on the lower order. Miller found it difficult to get the ball away and Narine, after one towering six, was caught backing up too far. However, when Ramdin crunched the first three balls of the 48th over for six, four, four it was not beyond the realms he could finish the game himself. Then Bresnan remembered one of cricket's long-standing limited-overs deliveries. It was an untidy finish for England but, after the six months they have had, they will take a series win however it comes.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on March 7, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    @CodandChips on (March 7, 2014, 17:38 GMT) This is it.I tend to find many of our T20/ODI batsmen seem to be boundary or nothing sort of players. This is why I mentioned about a passage of play in one of Buttler's inns and the placement/pace of the shots combined with the aggressive running with Morgan meant that he had scored something like 25 off 16 balls without even hitting a boundary. I have a theory in that a batsman can hit a ball almost anywhere and if both batsmen are geared up to take a run then it's usually pretty safe

  • dummy4fb on March 7, 2014, 20:20 GMT

    If I recall correctly, they were always saying Chanders bat slowly... WI over the past patches simply cannot bat out 50 overs... whats the point!

    To me thats a problem for them that I hardly see any commentator mentioning...

  • CodandChips on March 7, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    @JG2704 Love the example of Neil Mckenzie for Hants. He's had a vital role in the limited overs success between 2010 to now (he wasn't there in 2009). While we have had many big names and aggressive, such as Carberry scoring plenty of runs each year, Lumb doing enough to get selected for England, Afridi, Razzaq, Vince, Jimmy Adams (leading scorer for 2 seasons I think- was desperately unlucky not to get in the England squad, given that he was probably one of the best white ball openers in the country between 2009 and 2011), it was McKenzie who held the team together, especially when chasing. He scores his runs with little nudges and nurdles, usually finding the gaps. It may appear that he's scoring slowly due to lack of boundary's, but his strike rate usually was good.An awesome servant to the county.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on March 6, 2014, 22:38 GMT

    It's the spinners that tend to dominate the bowling in shorter formats, especially outside of UK, so I'd be more tempted to try and keep both Ali and Root (once his thumb gets glued back on) in the ODI side, and I like Tredwell so he'd always be there too. Broad has finally looked up in the cricket dictionary what a yorker is! Whether he and/or another pacer can finally master it and use it more is another worry. Until then, death bowling will continue to be a major weakness for England. Hope Finn gets his mojo back and gets another decent chance.

  • JG2704 on March 6, 2014, 22:24 GMT

    @C&C ctd - I have few issues either way with Cook and Bell. I never liked Cook,Bell,Trott up top but 2 of the 3 I have no issue with and as I said they seemed to be addressing the SR issues in the Aus series and it was more Stokes and Ballance who stagnated the runs

  • JG2704 on March 6, 2014, 22:20 GMT

    @C&C ctd - re batting Aggressive running. You don't have to be a big hitter to score at a run a ball if you try and score a run off every delivery you face. You often have to be set to play expansive cricket effectively but you don't have to be set to run aggressively and just deflect the ball for singles. Manipulate the ball/field etc. Mckenzie did this beautifully in several matches for Hants. Also feel its a good way of putting pressure on the fielding side and lead to mistakes by the bowler getting frustrated and the from the fielders.

    Re your formula. Not sure. The thing I worry about is that batsmen would go along at too pedestrian a rate upfront and if they get out after about 30-40 balls they will have damaged the team's chances. I think we also ought to try and get significantly ahead of the game when chasing stiffish targets and cater for tight bowlers like Narine by targeting other bowlers so defending vs Narine isnt damaging the chase/setting the target...

  • JG2704 on March 6, 2014, 22:10 GMT

    @Codand Chips - I think we ought to change the way we go about the game more than we need to change the personel.There are certain things we could do IMO to change any side we put out for the better


    1- Work harder on death bowling/yorkers etc 2 - Not save so many overs (if any) for the death if a bowler is bowling particularly well up front. I've seen guys like Broad bowl well up front and then save a number of overs for the death where they are likely to go for runs anyway. If they are flying up front there may even be no need for death overs 3- I tend to find that fielding sides relax the powerplay field (ie push a man out) after the set of powerplay overs regardless of the situation. If the fielding side is on top why not keep the pressure on by keeping more fielders in?

  • CodandChips on March 6, 2014, 20:23 GMT

    @JG2704 also what about the death bowling?

  • CodandChips on March 6, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    @JG2704 So you think we need to change "the way we go about our game" as opposed to changing personell. So what would you do? Stick with the formula used in previous years but just run more singles? Would you try and fit Cook & Bell into my amazing formulae? What did you think of my formulae?

  • CodandChips on March 6, 2014, 19:53 GMT

    @JG2704 I've long considered Trego one of the most destructive batsmen in the country. However what puts me off him is his inconsistency and I dont rate his bowling at all. So I guess he'd be a much more destructive version of Bopara without Ravi's bowling.

    Re Ballance he was horrible in the ODIs in Australia but he deserves his chance. His domestic numbers in all formats are awesome (though are inflated slightly by playing in Zimbabwe). I have seen him bat very destructively before, and his general batting ability would be an asset. I kinda hope that batting lower would help Ballance bat a bit more freely.

    Your point on singles is valid. I used to think that dot balls outside of powerplay overs were almost inexcusable because with 5 fielders out there used to be so many gaps. However with the new rules and extra fielder there seems to be a lot less space. But I do agree we need to run more singles.

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