Alex Hales’ comeback century, and Joe Root’s first limited-overs ton in more than a year, carried England to 328 all out in the third one-day international against West Indies at the Kensington Oval.
The second-wicket pair put together a stand of 192 in 30 overs of an otherwise patchy England innings in pursuit of their first ODI whitewash of West Indies in the Caribbean.
Hales made 110 in his first match since breaking his hand in the series in India, and he and Root, who scored 101, had to be patient initially – joining forces at 27 for one after England were put in.
The top order was presented with awkward early conditions, and West Indies bowled well with the new ball.
But Hales responded with an innings containing nine fours and five sixes – the fourth maximum completing his 99-ball fifth ODI hundred with a mistimed hook over the wicketkeeper’s head off Alzarri Joseph (four for 76).
And Root rode his luck a little to register his ninth century in this format, with 10 fours from 107 balls.
After Jason Roy planted a catch into the hands of mid-off, Root had two escapes. He was badly dropped on one by Evin Lewis at midwicket off Joseph, before Ashley Nurse put down a tougher chance at a wide fourth slip when an edge on 12 at Jason Holder (three for 41) floated to the fielder’s right but just carried.
Hales found the necessary momentum, largely by hitting Devendra Bishoo out of the attack.
The leg-spinner’s fifth and last over cost 18 runs.
Hales’ only moment of worry came on 93 when he missed a sweep at occasional off-spinner Kraigg Brathwaite and was given out lbw but went to DRS – which overturned the decision because Hawk-Eye simulated the ball going straight on from round the wicket to miss off stump.
The opener was in with an outside shot at breaking his own national-record ODI score of 171 until he went after another big hit and steepled a catch to short fine leg off Joseph.
Out-of-form Jos Buttler was promoted – but despite the bonus of a free-hit first ball, dispatching it for six over long-off after Joseph overstepped to Root, England’s wicketkeeper missed out again.
Eoin Morgan did too, but Root completed his century before his attempt to hit a six with the wind next ball got barely as far as deep mid-on. Moeen Ali became Joseph’s second victim of the over when he chipped back a return catch for a golden duck to augment the young seamer’s career-best.
England were still able to bag 87 for seven in a hectic last 10 overs, Holder taking two late wickets in two balls and Ben Stokes providing most of the tourists’ muscle.