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Root and Buttler helped England earn a hard-fought 2-1 series win
England batsman Joe Root smashed a stunning century and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler walloped a breathtaking 99 to lead their side to a 25-run win over the West Indies in the third and final ODI in Antigua.
Root and Buttler’s heroics also helped England record a 2-1 series win.
However, West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin deserves a huge amount of credit as well as he hammered a valiant century before his side fell short of their target.
West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo would have been beaming after deciding to bowl first since he dismissed England opening batsman Michael Lumb for 20 runs.
Bravo struck again the very next ball as Ben Stokes was caught by Ravi Rampaul at short fine leg.
Moeen Ali and Root stabilised the innings with a 78-run partnership, during which Ali brought up his half-century, before he was caught and bowled by Nikita Miller for a career-best 55 off 59 balls, which included three boundaries and a six.
Eoin Morgan only made one run before he was clean bowled by Sunil Narine.
Root and Buttler kept the runs flowing with a magnificent 175-run partnership, during which Root brought up his maiden ODI century and Buttler his half-century, before Root was caught by Darren Bravo at short third man off the bowling of Dwayne Bravo.
Root’s outstanding knock of 107 came off 122 balls and included seven boundaries.
Buttler ended up making 99 runs off 84 deliveries, which included seven boundaries and four sixes, before he was caught and bowled by Rampaul.
Thanks to Root and Buttler, England finished on 303/6 off their 50 overs.
Bravo was pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Rampaul, Narine and Miller chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing a mammoth target of 304 to win, the West Indies got off to a poor start as opening batsman Kieran Powell was clean bowled by Root for just one run.
Dwayne Smith only made nine runs before he was caught by Ali at deep backward square leg off the bowling of England captain Stuart Broad.
Darren Bravo managed to make 16 runs before he was caught by Ravi Bopara at short midwicket off the bowling of Ali.
Lendl Simmons also scored 16 runs before he was clean bowled by Broad.
Marlon Samuels amassed 23 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Stephen Parry.
Samuels decided to review the decision, but replays showed that there was a clear edge, which led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.
Dwayne Bravo and Ramdin steadied the innings with a 51-run partnership before Bravo was caught behind off the bowling of Bopara for 27.
Darren Sammy and Ramdin kept the runs flowing with a 71-run partnership, during which Ramdin registered his half-century, before Sammy was brilliantly caught by Stokes at deep backward square leg off the bowling of Tim Bresnan for 24.
Miller managed to make 10 runs before he was caught by Chris Jordan, who was the substitute fielder, off the bowling of Bresnan.
Narine scored 10 runs before he was run out by Broad.
Ramdin ended up becoming the first West Indian wicketkeeper to score an ODI century before he was clean bowled by Bresnan.
Ramdin’s maiden century and career-best score of 128 came off 109 balls and included 12 boundaries and five sixes.
Bresnan was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Broad picked up two and Root, Ali, Parry and Bopara chipped in with one wicket each.
Bravo was disappointed that none of the top order batsmen performed well, and said: “We were confident to chase, [but] it didn’t quite come off at the end. I think Root and Buttler batted well, they capitalised on the start they had.
“Our bowling group is always in the game. We didn’t get it right at the key moments, the first ten overs. It’s something we have to work on as a team and as a batting group.”
Broad was ecstatic to have emerged victorious, and said: “[I’m] Very happy, certainly the way the batsmen played on that wicket, which no one knew quite how it would play. We thought we could hurt them if we got a partnership going, that’s what Jos did at the end. Once he got himself going – he looked unstoppable. We’ve taken some half chances, particularly in the last couple of games, and that yorker in the end shows it can work.”
Root was named Man of the Match and Series for scoring 167 runs at an average of 55.66 and taking four wickets at an average of 21.50.
“It’s been a new experience [using the new ball], Stuart said at the start of the series it might be an option on these wickets, it’s gone well,” he said. “We wanted to take it deep, make sure we had wickets in hand going into the last ten overs. It worked out for us this time.”