Friday 20 March 2009 

England End Their Win Drought In Guyana

England End Their Win Drought In Guyana
England End Their Win Drought In Guyana
© Action Images / Paul Harding
 

England 270-7 (Collingwood 69, Shah 62, Pollard 2-47) beat
West Indies 244-7 (Simmons 62, Sarwan 57) by one run (D/L)

1st One Day International, Providence Stadium, Guyana
By Graham Wilson

The first One Day International between the West Indies and England was heading for a nail-biting finale before bad light and the Duckworth/Lewis method handed the tourists their first international victory of the winter by just one run.

Half-centuries from Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah helped England reach a competitive score of 270 for seven in Guyana before the West Indies, inspired by impressive cameos from Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Keiron Pollard, closed on 244 for seven after Darren Sammy and Daren Powell were ordered in having been offered the light with the West Indies one run behind the par score.

England won the toss and chose to bat with another change to the opening partnership as Ravi Bopara (43) partnered captain Andrew Strauss (15), and England added 50 runs in the first ten-over Power Play for the loss of Strauss, who toe-ended Powell to Dwayne Bravo at point.

Kevin Pietersen blasted a four and a six before he was on his way, caught by Powell off of Bravo for 17 and Bopara was trapped in front by left-arm spinner Nikita Miller to bring Collingwood and Shah together.

The pair added 97 either side of a delay due to some rain, Collingwood hitting six fours and Shah five but their partnership was blighted some poor running and the third Power Play which saw Collingwood reach his half-century and Shah lose his wicket, top edging a Bravo slower ball to be caught by wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin. That was Bravo's 100th wicket in ODIs and his return saw him rarely out of the action although he almost comically missed running out Stuart Broad late on with both batsmen stranded at the wrong end.

Pollard then had Dimitri Mascarenhas trapped in front and so plumb was it that Mascarenhas had already begun to walk off before the umpire gave his decision and Collingwood was flamboyantly caught on the boundary off of the same bowler.

Matthew Prior (26 not out) hit out with good effect at the death while Broad (8) was put down by Chris Gayle at short extra cover off of Pollard but was eventually run out when he sacrificed himself to allow Prior to face the final deliveries of the innings.

Bravo and Pollard picked up two wickets apiece as Gayle used seven bowlers in all and will be disappointed with the extras count of 27, which included some 23 wides.

England's bowlers then backed up their batsmen with a tidy start, Broad grabbing the wicket of Chris Gayle, trapped in front for six as the West Indies reached 36 for one from the first ten overs.

Ramnaresh Sarwan and Lendl Simmons grafted hard for their runs, with Sarwan using all his experience and form to score far quicker than Simmons, although the latter launched Gareth Batty for a big six on his way to a half-century.

Sarwan beat him to his half-century and the pair put on 125 for the second wicket before Sarwan offered Strauss a simple catch close to the wicket off of Collingwood. Sarwan scored his 57 from 77 balls while Simmons reached 62 in 105 before he lofted Batty into the deep where he was well held by Anderson.

He had already been put down by Broad and as well as he batted, his low strike rate left the incoming batsmen with plenty of work to do.

Pollard announced himself to the England bowlers by thumping Mascarenhas for a massive straight six and after they reached 173 for three in 38 overs, the West Indies opted to take the batting Power Play.

Pollard lifted Broad for another six and the crowd were then treated to the Chanderpaul show as he carted Steve Harmison for 26 runs from the Durham pacer's seventh over and it got the West Indies back in the game.

A bit of width offered first up was cut away for four before an extraordinary sweep over fine leg went the distance. Two majestic cover drives, in the air but nowhere near a fielder was followed up by a straight drive drilled between bowler and stumps and the over was completed with another four over cover point's head.

It was simply stunning and the fifth boundary brought up the 50 partnership in jsut 37 balls but he was gone soon after when he attempted another sweep off of Broad only to pick out Strauss at square leg. His innings of 46 in 30 balls changed the complexion of the game but the game was turned on its head when Bopara superbly caught Bravo (1) at backward point when Strauss turned to Anderson to replace Harmison.

Further rain threatened and with the West Indies just ahead, England were handed another chance to get back in the game when Pollard drove Batty towards long on, where Harmison waited to take the catch, but not only did he drop it, but the ball went for four as well as his nightmare afternoon continued.

One ball after Pollard had stroked a sumptuous four through the covers, Anderson bowled a short one, Pollard pulled high and Harmison this time made no mistake with the take as the outcome of the match once again was thrown into the balance.

And when Broad had Ramdin trapped in front for 14, the home side, for the first time, were behind the Duckworth/Lewis par score. But when the light was offered, the West Indians were called in by their management and both teams thought they'd won the game, the West Indies still needing 27 to win in 22 balls.

It proved a costly error as after a ridiculous amount of time in which nobody at the ground appeared to know who had won the match, England were finally declared the winners and could celebrate their first international win since 31st August 2008. For them, the agonising wait at the ground was probably worth it.

© Cricket World 2009

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