West Indies v England, 1st ODI, Antigua March 3, 2017

Powell's blunder, Roy's stunner

Plays of the day from the first ODI between West Indies and England in Antigua

Jason Roy's brilliant diving catch removed Jonathan Carter © Associated Press

The drop
Had Kieran Powell, at slip, been able to cling on to the chance that came his way off Carlos Brathwaite's first ball, Eoin Morgan would have been dismissed for just 4. Perhaps Powell was unsighted by the wicketkeeper, Shai Hope, who dived to his left in an unsuccessful attempt to reach the ball, but it seemed a relatively straightforward chance offered when Morgan footlessly wafted a drive at one angled across him. Instead of being out, he went on to make 107.

The blow
Who knows what might have happened had Morgan not been wearing a stemguard? Morgan, England's captain, attempted to pull impressive fast bowler Shannon Gabriel but was caught flush on the clip-on attachment added to the bottom part of helmets to protect a batsman's neck. Through the shot too soon, Morgan was struck on the left-hand side of his neck; a not dissimilar blow to that which killed Phillip Hughes. Thanks, perhaps, to the addition of the extra protection, the outcome was vastly different. Morgan was able to call for a new stemguard and, after a few minutes taken to ensure he was okay, was fine to resume his innings. The value of such protective equipment as rarely been demonstrated more obviously.

The close shave
With Alex Hales back with the tour party and cleared to resume full training and Jonny Bairstow also pushing for a recall, Sam Billings knows that time is running out for him to make a mark in this side. He was almost out before he had scored, though. Facing Gabriel, whose first spell offered pace, control and movement, Billings was drawn into a loose drive only to see the ball leave him a little and pass agonisingly close to the outside edge. Billings survived and went on to make a decent 52, his second ODI fifty in three innings.

The six
We've become accustomed to athletic boundary catches, with fielders somehow keeping the ball in play despite having to take a step over the rope in completing a catch. So it was something of a surprise when Kraigg Brathwaite, fielding on the midwicket boundary, was unable to cling on to a chance offered by Ben Stokes when he had scored 31. Stokes, heaving a delivery from Gabriel with the wind, must have thought he was in trouble as Brathwaite settled to take the chance. The ball slipped through his grasp, however, just as he took a step back over the boundary - and then rebounded to hit his knee with his other foot over the rope, thereby conceding a six.

The catch
The fifth-wicket stand between Jonathan Carter and Jason Mohammed was worth 82 in 13.5 overs and a target that had looked distant had started to look attainable. But then Carter top-edged his pull shot off Liam Plunkett and Jason Roy, running in from midwicket and flinging himself forward, clung on to a fine catch to break the partnership and allow England to breathe a little more easily.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. He will be covering England's tour of the Caribbean in association with Smile Group Travel, specialists in hosted supporters' packages.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ms.Cricket on March 4, 2017, 1:33 GMT

    Weaker teams like West Indies and Pakistan need to improve their fielding. While their batsmen and bowlers may encounter superior bowlers and batsmen, there is no one except themselves stopping them from fielding better.

  • bumsonseats on March 3, 2017, 23:52 GMT

    George with all the bad luck ( by your account ) how the heck did england win. You are supposed to be on our side

  • cricfan9961158210 on March 3, 2017, 23:14 GMT

    Like Mikey Holding used to love to say whilst commentating... Catches win matches.....

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