Sports, Cricket

West Indies captain’s ton mounts more misery on England

Published : 04 Dec 2023 08:25 PM

So much for a white-ball reboot. Three weeks after their disastrous World Cup campaign came to an end, England suffered defeat to West Indies in the first ODI in Antigua, trumped by four wickets thanks to a magnificent 109 not out from Shai Hope.

That they reached their target of 326 with seven balls to spare was down to Romario Shepherd's 48 from just 28 deliveries, coming at a time when the hosts looked to be circling the drain. West Indies were 213 for 5 in the 39th over, seemingly having wasted an unbeaten opening stand of 104 between Alick Athanaze and Brandon King. Shepherd, having overturned an lbw decision against him with just three runs to his name, breathed life into the chase with his powerful cameo.

By the time he departed lbw to Gus Atkinson, the equation was a more palatable 24 from 17. Hope, who had found his six-hitting touch as Shepherd's understudy in their 89-run stand (from just 51 balls), finished the match with three sixes in four balls, all to the leg side. The second took him to a 16th ODI century from 82 deliveries, before immediately clearing the boundary for the seventh and final time to send the crowd wild.

 Sam Curran was on the receiving end, not just of those final strikes but brutal treatment throughout the final stretch, leaving him nursing 0 for 98 from 9.5 overs - the worst ODI figures for an Englishman. Earlier on, his 38 had boosted England to 325 all out, with Harry Brook's 71 the standout in an innings littered with unconverted starts.

At the halfway stage, England's total - the highest achieved at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium - looked to have them comfortably out in front. But the hosts now possess that record by a single run, having clinched it in emphatic fashion.

Not for the first time in the last three months, Jos Buttler cut a forlorn figure, and registered another failure with the bat when dismissed for three. Having called correctly at the toss, his decision to bat first looked vindicated, particularly as Salt and Will Jacks raced to 77 for no loss after 8.2 overs.