Bridgetown: Centuries from Jason Roy (123, 85b, 15×4, 3×6) and Joe Root (102, 97b, 9×4) helped England post their highest run chase in ODIs and beat West Indies by six wickets to clinch the opening game of a five-match series here, Wednesday.
What looked like a daunting target after Chris Gayle’s (135, 129b, 3×4, 12×6) 24th ODI hundred anchored the home side to 360-8, Roy blazed at the top of the order while Root cruised to a comparatively sedate knock to help the tourists reach their target with eight balls to spare.
Fresh from a hundred in the lone warm-up match at the weekend, Roy was at his most ruthless against the hosts who missed key fast bowler Kemar Roach who has been ruled out of the entire ODI series with a suspect stress fracture of the lower back.
Roy set the pace in racing to a hundred off just 65 balls — the fastest-ever in ODIs in the Caribbean — and dominated an opening stand of 91 with Jonny Bairstow. He maintained the charge through a 114-run second-wicket partnership with Root and by the time he fell in the 27th over to leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, England were well on course.
But there was no respite for the hosts as skipper Eoin Morgan (65, 51b, 4×4, 3×6) and Root put on 116 for the third wicket in 16 overs. Even though Morgan fell with around 40 runs left for the win, there were no alarms for England.
“I was particularly happy with the calm way we went about all aspects of this match,” Morgan said. “Our bowlers did very well at the end of the West Indies innings when it looked as if they would get up to 380, and when we batted, you really can’t look past that start we got. It made the job so much easier.”
Playing his first ODI since the home series against Bangladesh last July and having announced that the upcoming World Cup will be his international farewell in the format, Chris Gayle signalled his intentions with a blistering knock. His tally of maximums dominated an innings in which 23 sixes were struck, a new record for an ODI innings.
England paid dearly for Roy dropping Gayle at point off seamer Liam Plunkett when the former West Indies captain was on just nine.
West Indies 360 for 8 (Chris Gayle 135, Sai Hope 64, Ben Stokes 3/37, Adil Rashid 3/74) lost to England 364 for 4 in 48.4 overs (Jason Roy 123, Joe Root 102, Eoin Morgan 65) by six wickets.