England beats Windies by 2 wickets, seals series
Wed, 20 Jun 2012 9:06a.m.
Alastair Cook hit his fifth one-day hundred to lead England to an eight-wicket win against West Indies to clinch the three-match series.
Cook scored 112 in putting on a 122-run opening stand with Ian Bell (53). He then added 81 with Jonathan Trott, who made 43 not out, to steer the hosts to 239-2 and eclipse West Indies' 238-9 with five overs to spare at The Oval.
Cook smashed 13 boundaries and one six in 120 balls.
"It was a really good team performance in some tricky circumstances," Cook said. "Credit to the group for the way we've handled it, it was a really good performance and a comfortable win in the end.
"We held our nerve."
Darren Sammy was the pick of the West Indies bowlers, with 2-46.
Earlier, Chris Gayle lived up to his reputation in his first match for West Indies since the World Cup quarterfinals 15 months ago, and the end of a public spat with national officials.
He slogged England's attack with five sixes and three boundaries in a 51-ball 53 but his harsh demise sparked a four-wicket collapse for 16 runs. Dwayne Bravo (77) and Kieron Pollard (41) led the team back to respectability in a stand of 100, but their exits saw the innings peter out tamely.
James Anderson took 2-38 and Stuart Broad 2-43 in an England side unchanged from the one which won the first one-dayer by 114 runs.
England won the toss and put West Indies in, although West Indies said it wanted to bat first anyway. The move started well for England as Gayle and Lendl Simmons struggled through the first five overs, putting only 8 on the board.
Then in the sixth over, Gayle, on 2, hit three consecutive boundaries off medium-pacer Steven Finn through square leg, over third slip and to long-on.
Finn conceded only one in his next over, then it was Anderson's turn. Gayle pulled a short ball over midwicket and deposited it into the stands. In the following over, Tim Bresnan came in for Finn and was abused for three sixes, the last and biggest one of them on to the roof of a stand.
Gayle's fifth six in the next over went straight back over Anderson's head and sent West Indies past 50 to 55 in the 11th over. Gayle slogged 48 of those runs.
Gayle singled at the end of the 12th to bring up his 44th ODI half century off as many balls. But two and a half overs later he was out lbw to Graeme Swann by the tiniest margin according to TV umpire Kumar Dharmasena. Gayle reviewed umpire Tony Hill's original, slow, out decision, and Dharmasena believed the delivery hit Gayle's front pad less than a split second before his bat.
Gayle was reluctant to leave, and the crowd was reluctant for him to go, too, but he did eventually. And it was as if a balloon popped.
Dwayne Smith lasted four balls and was out for a duck with a nick behind off Broad, Simmons was well run out by Cook from mid-off for 12 off 50 balls, and Marlon Samuels departed for 13 in the same 21st over top-edging a Broad bouncer to Bresnan on the midwicket boundary, leaving West Indies on 79-4 and England back in control.
Bravo and Pollard wrested it back with head-down grit. They accumulated runs with singles and the odd boundary and looked well set.
Then Pollard miscued a bouncer from Bresnan and Anderson took an easy catch in the 40th over with West Indies 179-5.
Sammy added a quickfire 21 and Bravo hung on after his sixth ODI half century until Anderson got him in the 49th over. Bravo batted for two hours, hitting two sixes and eight boundaries in 82 balls.
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