It was Adam Hollioake's first defeat as captain. However, more important than the winning runs, which came from a misfield by Matthew Fleming, was the six the keeper struck off the final ball of the 48th over. It meant that 11 runs were wanted from 12 balls, a target that looked a formality when Curtly Ambrose squeezed the first ball of the next over, bowled by Fleming, for four.
That England were able to set any kind of target at all, was due to some courageous batting by Nick Knight, who made 90 in difficult early conditions, and Mark Ealham, who belted a rapid 45 from 37 balls later in the piece. Indeed, England added 87 runs from the final eight overs as the West Indies bowlers, their early ascendancy a distant memory, were thrashed to all parts of the ground.
The belated mayhem was in stark contrast to the scene earlier in the day when, with the ball gripping and seaming off the damp surface, the first 15 overs in particular were a torrid experience for the batsmen.
In some ways it was surprising the damage was not greater. Even so, the situation of 21 for 1 that welcomed Ben Hollioake to the crease for his second one-day international innings was hardly auspicious. As ever, the youngster looked unfazed, his confidence helped no doubt by Knight's controlled pull for six off Courtney Walsh. Moments later, Hollioake was emulating the stroke himself off Ambrose, though this time for four. He had eased his way to 16 from 15 balls when Franklyn Rose, bowling from the Pickwick Pavilion end, brought off a fine one-handed catch to dismiss him.
But if the contribution of 16 was modest, the stand of 50 with Knight had injected crucial momentum into the England innings, something it had lost when Graeme Hick, a statue of tension next to the languid Hollioake, was bowled by the leg-spinner, Rawl Lewis, for a duck.
At 72 for 3, England found themselves forced to retrench, something that Mark Ramprakash, playing in place of the injured Graham Thorpe who has flown home because of a recurring disc problem in his back, has become something of an expert at. But if Ramprakash began slowly, the rate perked up once he had got his eye in, and the Middlesex captain hit Lewis for a mighty six over midwicket. Unfortunately for the batsman, an attempted repeat a few balls later ended in Ambrose's hands at deep square leg.
Not long afterwards, England again stuttered when they lost Knight, lbw to Simmons, and Hollioake Snr, in quick succession. Fortunately Ealham then provided some of the most exhilarating strokeplay of the day, and one over from Rose was hit for 17 runs as England made up for their enforced caution earlier in the day.
As expected, the West Indies went after England's total like demented lumberjacks intent on felling a forest in record time. The furious start had its casualties, as Philo Wallace an Clayton Lambert fell in quick succession, the latter run out after a brilliant pick- up and throw by Knight. Brian Lara, more stylish but equally punishing, weighed in with vintage larrups until he scythed Dean Headley to extra cover.
Apart from removing Lara, Headley, had a miserable start, conceding 68 from seven overs. Happily, such profligacy did not afflict Ealham and Robert Croft, the pair charged with squeezing the batsmen over the middle overs. Following their introduction, both Stuart Williams, playing in place of the sick Shivnarine Chanderpaul, and Carl Hooper were controlled.
Indeed there was not a boundary for 16 overs, a drought broken when Williams launched Croft into the Pickwick Pavilion for six. If the flow had been stemmed, it began to gush once more.
With both batsmen passing their half-centuries, the target diminished to 108 from the final 20 overs. Hooper reduced it even further when he picked up Fleming for six over square leg, a dismissive shot his Kent team-mate avenged not long after when he had him well caught by Croft at midwicket for 66.
Suddenly formality became only possibility, as Williams, Phil Simmons and Rawl Lewis were dismissed, the irrepressible Fleming having a hand in all of them. But the West Indies revel in the slenderest of margins, and with the final three wickets needing 41 runs for victory, England were handed their first one-day defeat for nine matches.
West Indies won toss
N V Knight lbw b Simmons 90
150 min, 107 balls, 7 fours, 1 six
A J Stewart c Lara b Walsh 3
41 min, 26 balls
B C Hollioake c and b Rose 16
30 min, 15 balls, 3 fours
G A Hick b Lewis 0
5 min, 3 balls
M R Ramprakash c Ambrose b Lewis 29
53 min, 51 balls, 2 fours, 1 six
*A J Hollioake run out 11
25 min, 13 balls, 1 four
M A Ealham c Ambrose b Simmons 45
51 min, 37 balls, 5 fours, 1 six
D R Brown b Simmons 21
31 min, 26 balls, 1 fou
M V Fleming c Williams b Ambrose 28
23 min, 17 balls, 2 fours, 1 six
R D B Croft not out 11
14 min, 7 balls, 2 fours
D W Headley b Ambrose 0
2 min, 1 ball
Extras (lb2 w9 nb1) 12
Total (217 min, 50 overs) 266
Fall: 1-21 (Stewart) 2-71 (B Hollioake) 3-72 (Hick) 4-131 (Ramprakash) 5-154 (Knight) 6-158 (A Hollioake) 7-206 (Brown) 8-238 (Ealham) 9-257 (Fleming) 10-266 (Headley).
Bowling: Ambrose 10-0-44-2 (w1) (8-0-31-0, 2-0-13-2); Walsh 10-1-51-1 (w2) (6-1-26-1, 3-0-10-0, 1-0-15-0); Rose 8-0-50-1 (nb1 w1) (7-0-33-1, 1-0-17-0); Lewis 10-0-40-2 (one spell); Simmons 8-0-46-3 (nb1 w2) (2-0- 10-0, 4-0-15-1, 2-0-21-2); Hooper 4-0-33-0 (nb1 w3) (2-0-13-0, 2-0-20- 0).
Progress: Rain delayed start until 9.50am. 50: 55 min, 75 balls. 100: 111 min, 153 balls. 150: 143 min, 204 balls. 200: 185 min, 262 balls. 250: 211 min, 294 balls. Knight's 50: 81 min, 61 balls, 5 fours, 1 six.
C B Lambert run out (Knight TV replay) 25
27 min, 18 balls, 3 fours, 1 six
P A Wallace c A Hollioake b Brown 22
21 min, 16 balls, 3 fours, 1 six
*B C Lara c Ramprakash b Headley 24
22 min, 19 balls, 5 fours
S C Williams c Fleming b A Hollioake 68
129 min, 88 balls, 2 fours, 1 six
C L Hooper c Croft b Fleming 66
108 min, 93 balls, 4 fours, 1 six
P V Simmons lbw b Fleming 5
11 min, 6 balls, 1 four
R D Jacobs not out 28
50 min, 34 balls, 1 six
R N Lewis run out (Fleming TV replay) 4
4 min, 3 balls, 1 four
F A Rose c A Hollioake b Fleming 3
12 min, 7 balls
C E L Ambrose c and b A Hollioake 14
18 min, 15 balls, 1 four
C A Walsh not out 1
5 min, 2 balls
Extras (lb4,w1,nb2) 7
Total (for 9, 208 min, 49.5 overs) 267
Fall: 1-41 (Wallace), 2-54 (Lambert), 3-79 (Lara), 4-211 (Hooper), 5- 211 (Williams), 6-221 (Simmons), 7-226 (Lewis), 8-236 (Rose), 9-265 (Ambrose).
Bowling: Brown 8-1-36-1 (w1), Headley 7-0-68-1 (nb2), Croft 10-0-46-0, Ealham 8-0-29-0, Fleming 9-0-41-3, A Hollioake 7.5-0-43-2 (one spell each).
Progress: 50: 23 min, 34 balls. 100: 61 min, 85 balls. 150: 112 min, 171 balls. 200: 144 min, 219 balls. 250: 195 min, 289 balls.
Williams 50: 97 min, 68 balls, 2 fours, 1 six. Hooper 50: 87 min, 78 balls, 4 fours.
Umpires: B Morgan and E Nicholls.Reuse content