Joe Root smashed an undefeated 90 as England claimed a four-wicket win over the West Indies on Sunday, but he was quick to salute Chris Woakes and Jason Roy, who also hit impressive half-centuries.
All-rounder Woakes was not out on 68, while opener Roy made 52 to help England chase down a 226-run target and claim the second one-day international and the three-match series having won the opener by 45 runs at the same venue on Friday last week.
“Jason set the tone and got us miles ahead of the rate,” man-of-the-match Root said. “I just told Chris to take his time to get in and build together. He played exceptionally well and it’s a sign of a good team that we don’t rely on one or two players.”
England were cantering toward their target on the back of Roy’s belligerent half-century at 108-2 in the 21st over, but then the specialist spinners got the West Indies back into the match, triggering a slide which saw four England wickets tumble for 16 runs.
Ashley Nurse returned his best-ever figures of 3-34, while Devendra Bishoo claimed 2-43, but with fast bowler Shannon Gabriel unavailable after an opening three-over spell because of a side strain, captain Jason Holder resorted to part-time spinners on a helpful track without success.
Root struck just three boundaries in a controlled innings, his only blemish being an edge off Bishoo between the wicketkeeper and slip.
“It was just about staying calm because we were so far ahead of the required rate,” Root said. “Chris [Woakes] took a lot of the pressure off me with his aggression.”
Fresh from claiming career-best figures of 4-40 in the first match, seamer Liam Plunkett played a key role in stifling the West Indies’ quest to accelerate on a bright morning. He removed top-scorer Jason Mohammed (50) and Jonathan Carter (39), before adding the scalp of Nurse to finish with 3-32.
Fast bowler Steven Finn did the early damage.
Poor shot selection contributed to Evin Lewis’ demise, a leading edge giving a simple catch to Sam Billings at cover, while a miscued pull by Kieran Powell presented Finn with a catch off his own bowling that took him to the milestone of 100 one-day international wickets.
“We need to seize the opportunities that come our way,” Holder said when reflecting on his batsmen failing to capitalize on good starts and also chances missed in the field in both matches. “We keep losing too many wickets to poor shots at the top.”
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