England 160 for 3 (Trescothick 55, Strauss 44*) beat West Indies 159 (Sarwan 46, Powell 36, Harmison 3-31, Anderson 3-37) by seven wickets
After their two previous drubbings, England hit back in the fifth NatWest Series match by beating West Indies by a comfortable seven wickets. After Michael Vaughan sent the opposition in, Stephen Harmison led the way with three wickets, and was backed up by James Anderson, who chipped in with 3 for 37 as West Indies were bowled out for only 159. England then reached their target with all of 28 overs to spare.
It was a must-win game for England, both in terms of this tournament, and team morale, and they took control early on and never let it go. For West Indies, apart from a stand of 63 between Ramnaresh Sarwan and Ricardo Powell, they never recovered from their wobbly start, in which they slumped to 72 for 6.
Under cloudy skies and on a seaming pitch, Michael Vaughan had no hesitation in bowling first, and Harmison struck as early as the second over. Shivnarine Chanderpaul nibbled at a perfect awaycutter, and Geraint Jones took a smart catch diving to his left behind the stumps (9 for 1).
Chris Gayle was in typically aggressive form, hitting five quick boundaries, while at the other end, Dwayne Smith made a watchful start. However, after 10 balls he prodded forward to Harmison and feathered one through to Jones, who took his second catch (29 for 2). The very next ball, West Indies stumbled to 29 for 3 when Gayle was run out by a direct throw from Vaughan in the covers after Sarwan called him through for a quick single.
Harmison welcomed Brian Lara to the crease with a couple of short ones, but it was Anderson who rediscovered the happy knack of taking crucial wickets when a frustrated Lara tried to drive a full ball off the back foot, but inside-edged it into his stumps for 6 (40 for 4).
Dwayne Bravo got going by on-driving Anderson to the boundary, but he was later helpless against another pearler from Anderson. It pitched outside off and cut away to take Bravo's outside edge and give Jones his third catch (62 for 5). Ridley Jacobs was the next to go, when he played on to Anderson trying to drive a full delivery, and another early finish seemed in prospect.
However, Sarwan and Powell rode the waves and took their time to rebuild the innings. Powell, unusually low down the order at No. 8, played a host of drives, including a belter off Harmison, who was brought back early by Vaughan in an attempt to finish off the innings. Powell then launched Marcus Trescothick straight back over his head for the first - and only - six of the innings.
But just as West Indies were beginning to get back on track, Paul Collingwood popped up with a stunning one-handed catch high at backward point to get rid of Sarwan from a Trescothick long-hop (135 for 7). In the following over, Harmison then removed the dangerous Powell, when he inside-edged a short one into his stumps for a battling 35 (137 for 8).
Ian Bradshaw and Ravi Rampaul frustrated England at the bottom of the order, adding 22, before Anthony McGrath and Darren Gough wrapped up the innings with 9.5 overs still remaining.
England then put their two recent batting nightmares behind them, as Trescothick and Andrew Strauss guided them to victory. Trescothick twice square-drove Jermaine Lawson, and later emphatically hammered a short ball to the fine-leg boundary on his way to passing 3,000 one-day international runs.
However, Bravo made the much-needed breakthrough, albeit luckily, when Vaughan foolishly flashed at a wide, short ball, and Gayle took a good catch to his right at first slip (55 for 1). Robert Key, playing in his first one-dayer since June last year, got off the mark with a confident on-drive for four, but Bravo picked up another wicket when he nipped one through Key's bat and pad to clip the middle stump (64 for 2).
However, Strauss prevented any wobbles with a quickfire 44 from 37 balls. He was in a man in a hurry. He cover-drove Bravo and then crunched Lawson to the square-leg fence, before welcoming Rampaul to the attack by twice swatting him over midwicket.
Trescothick then went into overdrive as well. He smashed three consecutive boundaries off Bravo, the second of which brought up his 17th one-day half-century. But not everything went his way, as he was later out in one of the most unlucky ways. Strauss drove Bradshaw straight back down the wicket, and Bradshaw finger-tipped the ball onto the stumps at the non-striker's end with Trescothick out of his ground (120 for 3). Trescothick had made 55, including nine boundaries.
Andrew Flintoff strode out and showed what England what they had been missing, as he hit an entertaining 21 from 18 balls, featuring three bruising fours and a huge six over square leg off Rampaul. It was left for Strauss to hit the winning runs, though, as he creamed his ninth boundary through the covers to complete a thoroughly one-sided game.