Cricket: England breeze to victory after weathering Gayle-force storm
ENGLAND cruised to an eight-wicket win over West Indies at The Oval, on the back of a century from Alastair Cook, to wrap up the NatWest Series a match early.
Cook (112) shared a century opening stand with Ian Bell (53) and then put on 81 for the second wicket with Jonathan Trott as England raced past West Indies’ patchy 238 for nine with five overs to spare to establish an unassailable 2-0 lead.
The hard work was done, though, when Cook’s bowling attack withstood an early barrage from Chris Gayle (53) and restricted the Windies to an under-par total despite a worthy 77 from Dwayne Bravo.
On a typically reliable batting surface of even pace and bounce, Cook and Bell then duly put England’s achievable target into context.
There was barely a false shot from either as Cook won the race to 50, until Bell forewent the chance of his own second successive hundred by loosely pushing a change of pace from Darren Sammy straight into the hands of cover.
Cook made no mistake, until he lobbed a cutter from Sammy over the bowler to be caught by mid-on, as he extended an enviable sequence of six centuries from an England opener in consecutive one-day internationals.
A sombre atmosphere, following the death on Monday of Tom Maynard, prevailed at the Surrey batsman’s home ground – where a minute’s silence in his memory preceded start of play, flags remained at half-mast and both teams wore black armbands. However, Gayle went straight into action with five sixes and three fours clattered to all parts in a 41-ball 50 at the top of the order, reaching the milestone when his opening partner Lendl Simmons was still in single figures.
But, twice, two wickets, starting with Gayle’s, fell on the same score as the Windies stumbled to 79 for four.
Gayle was trapped lbw by Swann, then Dwayne Smith went for a duck, swishing at only the second delivery from Stuart Broad and edging behind. Simmons fell to a direct hit from Cook and, when Marlon Samuels miscued a pull at Broad straight to deep midwicket, West Indies had two new men at the crease on nought.
Bravo and Kieron Pollard put on a 100 to steady the innings, but the suspicion already was already that they had merely managed to delay an inevitable win for England – and so it proved.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North