West Indies vs England, first ODI

New West Indies head coach, Stuart Law, has underscored the value of the three-match one-day series against England staring here today, especially with the regional side already setting their sights on the 2019 World Cup. In this match, the series will be on the line for the hosts after they lost the first ODI by 45 runs.

In the end four wickets each from Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett proved enough to seal victory even if the result was closer than England would have hoped after they had reduced their opponents to 39 for three early on and then 108 for four in the 25th over of the reply. "I know not that many people were giving us a chance, but we showed as a young team that we can compete with England and we can win games". In the second game too there will be interesting clashes to look forward to. Gabriel generated some serious pace apart from being accurate. Gabriel went through his defence and uprooted Root's stumps. Jason Roy (13) scored a couple of boundaries in the third over to get the innings going and was also handed a reprieve in the fifth over when Jason Holder (0-46) dropped him off his own bowling. Morgan's hundred, his tenth in ODI cricket and already his second of 2017 after registering none a year ago, further confirmed his return to form and importance to England's middle order. He chipped in with the crucial breakthrough of Billings and sent back the risky Jos Buttler cheaply.

The surface at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, though, required rather more finesse, even if some late blows from Ben Stokes, who struck 55 in his first global since landing a £1.7million Indian Premier League deal last week, was more in tune with this side's natural approach.

An intriguing sub-plot will be the battle between Brathwaite and Stokes after the West Indian hammered the England right-armer for four consecutive sixes to steal the World T20 final in Kolkata a year ago. However, the duel between the two all-rounders can not be written off after just one contest.

The West Indies batting market looks wide open, with the old-school credentials of Kraigg Brathwaite perhaps worth a second look. Moreover, having failed to qualify for the Champions Trophy in June, West Indies can't afford to keep things for later and start from this series itself. Both teams are coming off series losses, the West Indies failing to advance to the final of a three-nation tournament in Zimbabwe while England losing 2-1 to India. While he played only one match during West Indies' title run in the 2012 World T20, he was picked in the next edition as the side's designated opener and scored 125 runs in five matches.

But once Carter departed, it triggered a collapse but captain Jason Holder took a lot of positives from the defeat.

  • Santos West