May 24, 2009
England made easy work of a shambolic West Indies side as they coasted to a six-wicket victory at Bristol. A change of format and having the sun on their backs did nothing to improve the visitors' performance as they were shot out for 160. Stuart Broad did the damage at either end of the innings, but Paul Collingwood was the middle-order destroyer with 3 for 16 and Collingwood completed the victory with a sprightly, unbeaten 47.
The only stages that West Indies threatened to make a match where as Chris Gayle briefly flourished before being outdone by a smart piece of captaincy from Andrew Strauss, then when Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo added 63 for the fourth wicket. However, when Tim Bresnan removed Chanderpaul the order unravelled rapidly against tight bowling and a sharp fielding. England were impressive, but some of the shot selection and general thinking from West Indies left plenty to be desired as the last seven wickets tumbled for a paltry 53.
Broad was on target straight away after Andrew Strauss won a useful toss and trapped Lendl Simmons - who has suspect technique against the moving ball - leg before as the batsman played across a straight ball. In Broad's next over, as he pushed 90mph, he found the perfect length to bring Ramnaresh Sarwan into a loose push outside off.
Gayle, though, responded to the difficulty of 7 for 2 with typical bravado in his 200th ODI. He began by slashing Broad square then drilled him straight for four having almost picked out mid-off attempting a similar stroke. They were followed by a mighty swing over long-on for six and a slice through backward point and suddenly the momentum was shifting.
Strauss countered with a brave piece of captaincy as he introduced Graeme Swann inside the first Powerplay. The first ball to Gayle disappeared high over long-on for another maximum, but Swann is a confident bowler and didn't panic. He pushed the next delivery through a little quicker, Gayle eyed another boundary but the ball clipped the pad and crashed into the stumps. Strauss had gambled at bowling to Gayle's ego and it paid off.
Chanderpaul is so used to top-order wobbles that fixing them is second nature to him and alongside Bravo he steadied the innings. Bravo, who is coming off a six-week spell at the IPL after being ruled out of the Test series on medical advice, looked in good touch as he profited through his favourite leg-side area and also drove Dimitri Mascarenhas for a sweet straight six.
However, just as the stand with Chanderpaul was building a base for West Indies, Bresnan struck when Chanderpaul top-edged a pull to short third-man and shortly after Bravo reached a 55-ball fifty he missed a slower ball from Collingwood.
Although introduced as the sixth option, Collingwood proved mighty effective as he varied his pace and bowled a wicket-to-wicket line. Denesh Ramdin was trapped on the crease and Kieron Pollard was castled as he tried something expansive during the batting Powerplay. Between those wickets, Jerome Taylor was run out in a horrible mix-up with Pollard as he attempted a non-existent single to Strauss, and Broad wrapped up the innings in ruthless fashion with a short-pitched attack at the tail.
The innings folded so quickly that England started their chase before the interval and they lost Strauss when he got into a tangle against a Taylor short ball. Matt Prior, elevated to No. 3 in Kevin Pietersen's absence, guided a catch to Gayle at slip, who took it at the second attempt, but without the surprisingly rested Fidel Edwards West Indies lack the firepower to create major problems.
Ravi Bopara batted neatly, especially through the leg side, and was playing within himself when he was trapped in front of middle and leg by Bravo. It has been said many times, but West Indies would be a far better team if a few more players showed Bravo's enthusiasm. By most of the outfit it was a hopelessly lethargic effort, typified by a number of pieces of sloppy fielding (and even Bravo wasn't immune from that), although Pollard managed a late direct hit to send Owais Shah back for 38.
Shah, who didn't play at the IPL and has lost his Test place, took 13 balls to get off the mark but became more confident as his innings progressed although will be looking over his shoulder when Pietersen returns. Collingwood hit the ball sweetly to complete a day that couldn't have gone much better for England. However, even they will be secretly hoping that they are tested more than this in the near future.