Jonny Bairstow bagged his second hundred of the Royal London Series as England set aside the controversial distractions to end their longest summer with a nine-wicket romp and 4-0 clean sweep over the West Indies.
Eoin Morgan’s men could perhaps have been forgiven for trudging to the finish line – after the arrest of Ben Stokes on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and his and Alex Hales’ suspension by the England and Wales Cricket Board from all future international fixtures until further notice.
But England limited the tourists to 288 for six despite Shai Hope’s 72 from number three and then – underpinned by Bairstow’s 90-ball century, and 96 from his opening partner Jason Roy – chased with unerring ease and 12 overs to spare.
What they said
England captain Eoin Morgan: “I think today had the potential to be quite a lethargic performance but the determination and ruthlessness that everybody showed throughout the day was outstanding. To come to the end of a long year for us … with guys who have played a huge amount of cricket, to produce a performance like that was outstanding.”Jonny Bairstow: “To come off the back of a disappointing Test series for me, and to have the faith shown in me by the captain and the coach to open the batting, I hope I’ve repaid them. It was huge for me.”West Indies captain Jason Mohammed: “It’s always difficult when you lose games like this. It just wasn’t happening in the series, and especially this game.”
Plunkett is Mr Reliable
There was a rare blip from Liam Plunkett at the end of the Windies innings, when he dropped Ashley Nurse’s big hit at Tom Curran over the boundary for six. By then, he had already taken two outstanding catches and recorded England’s best figures of the innings – taking his ODI annual wickets haul to 36, level at the top of the table with Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.
Stat of the day
147 – Not a maximum break, in this instance, but the number of days in England’s longest ever summer of cricket. They began their odyssey with a one-day international win against Ireland in Bristol on May 5.
England are due some credit for finishing their arduous season on the front foot, having won all bi-lateral series against Ireland, South Africa and West Indies – unless you count this month’s one-off Twenty20 defeat in Durham. The controversies of the past week make it more laudable perhaps that those still on the pitch have made such a good fist of it.
Tweet of the day
In the middle, a two-day tour match in Perth at the start of November on England’s Ashes tour. There looks to be a fair bit of water to cross under the bridge elsewhere before then, though.