Bairstow century leads the way for England

September 20, 2017

England began the five match one-day international series against the West Indies with a seven wicket victory, with Jonny Bairstow playing a starring role at Old Trafford.

The Yorkshireman, who keeps wicket and usually bats at number seven in Tests, was promoted to open in a one-day international for the first time, having taken on a similar role domestically for Yorkshire this year.

He responded with his maiden 50-over international century as his 100 not out saw England through to a successful chase after the West Indies could only post 204-9 in their 42 overs.

The match had started late due to a wet outfield caused by torrential Manchester downpours the previous evening, but when the match got underway England took a firm grip. 

Although master blaster Chris Gayle was dropped at slip early on by Joe Root, the Test captain was to make amends with a steepling catch in the deep to remove the opener for 37.

The wicket of Gayle was one of a series of catches taken in the deep by England in a strong fielding performance as the West Indies struggled to get any momentum. Although the first seven batsmen all got into double figures, nobody reached a half century. Captain Jason Holder top scored with 41 not out. Viv Richards remains the only West Indian to make a one-day international 50 at Old Trafford, a feat that included his epic 189 not out in 1984.

Marlon Samuels was among those who made a circumspect start but never managed to launch an assault. His renewal of hostilities with Ben Stokes had been eagerly anticipated after a history of verbals between the pair, with Samuels recently warning the England all-rounder to "stay on the boundary".

On this occasion, however, Stokes won their battle, having Samuels caught down leg side for 17. The ball had initially been called wide, but England reviewed the decision and found the batsman had got a faint edge.

Fans booking corporate hospitality for the fourth match in the series at the Kia Oval will be able to see the pair meet again as their battle continues, with Samuels hoping to gain revenge. 

Having stuttered to just over 200, the West Indies needed early wickets, but England started well and although Alex Hales fell for 19, Bairstow and Joe Root took complete control. Root made 54 as the pair added 125 for the second wicket in 19 overs. Skipper Eoin Morgan fell for ten, but Ben Stokes made sure England cruised past their target with 11 overs and five balls to spare, his unbeaten 23 including two sixes either side of Bairstow reaching his century. 

England's win followed a 3-0 whitewash of a much-weakened West Indies in the Caribbean earlier this year, when the likes of Samuels and Gayle were absent due to a long-running dispute with the board. 

The consequence of this is that the West Indies needed to win the current series 5-0 or have one tie or no-result to qualify automatically for the 2019 World Cup in England. After Old Trafford, they now face a qualifying tournament against the likes of Zimbabwe and new Test nations Afghanistan and Ireland.

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