England beat West Indies by eight wickets at The Oval


England cruised to an
eight-wicket win over West Indies at The Oval, on the back of a century
from Alastair Cook, to wrap up the NatWest Series a match early.

Cook (112) shared a century opening stand with Ian Bell (53) and then put on 81 for the second wicket with Jonathan Trott as England raced past West Indies' patchy 238 for nine with five overs to spare to establish an unassailable 2-0 lead.

The hard work was done, though, when Cook's bowling attack withstood an early barrage from Chris Gayle (53) and restricted the Windies to an under-par total despite a worthy 77 from Dwayne Bravo.

On a typically reliable batting surface of even pace and bounce, Cook and Bell then duly put England's achievable target into context.

There was barely a false shot from either as Cook won the race to 50, until Bell forewent the chance of his own second successive hundred by loosely pushing a change of pace from Darren Sammy straight into the hands of cover.

Cook made no mistake, until he lobbed a cutter from Sammy over the bowler to be caught by mid-on, as he extended an enviable sequence of six centuries from an England opener in consecutive one-day internationals - a series the captain himself began with back-to-back hundreds against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.

Unsurprisingly, six victories have resulted, Cook underpinning the latest with his fifth hundred at this level - containing 12 fours in 114 balls.

The ease of England's victory, and West Indies' continuing blank on this tour, was hardly in the offing when Gayle was demonstrating his renowned raw power with five sixes and three fours clattered to all parts in a 41-ball 50 at the top of the order.

Cook must have been wondering what he had done while Gayle was in full flow after the Windies were put in on a sunny morning.

But twice two wickets, starting with Gayle's, fell on the same score as the Windies stumbled to 79 for four.

A sombre atmosphere, following the death yesterday of Tom Maynard, prevailed at the Surrey batsman's home ground - where a minute's silence in his memory preceded start of play, flags remained at half-mast and both teams wore black armbands.

Once under way, the hope was that cricket might be allowed to lift spirits or at least divert the senses - and Gayle did not disappoint.

James Anderson and Steve Finn bowled three maidens in the first four overs. But once Gayle had deposited Anderson for his first six, sent thudding into the electronic scoreboard with a pull high over midwicket, four more followed in 10 balls.

He greeted first-change Tim Bresnan with three sixes in his first over, the last on to the roof of the Bedser Stand at wide long-on.

His last maximum, off Anderson, brought a brief lull while England summoned help to retrieve the ball from a trough underneath the press box.

When Gayle reached his 50, with an incongruous nudge to midwicket for a single off Bresnan, his near silent opening partner Lendl Simmons was still in single-figures.

A shock absentee in West Indies' defeat in the opening match of this series because of a shin injury, Gayle was playing in his first international fixture since last year's World Cup following a dispute with his employers.

He seemed to be on the fast track to marking the occasion with a 20th one-day international hundred too, until Graeme Swann won the tightest of lbw decisions against the left-hander.

Gayle went without hesitation to DRS after Tony Hill gave him out, but third umpire Kumar Dharmasena upheld his colleague's decision as replays showed contact with bat and pad was simultaneous.

Gayle slowly trudged off in disbelief - and everything changed.

Dwayne Smith went for a duck, swishing at only the second delivery from Stuart Broad and edging behind.

Simmons eventually fell to a direct hit from Cook at mid-off, ending a 50-ball innings which produced only 12 runs - and when Marlon Samuels miscued a pull at Broad straight to deep midwicket, West Indies had two new men at the crease on nought.

Kieron Pollard escaped an obvious stumping opportunity off Swann on 28, and Bravo's mishit at the off-spinner on 18 just spilled out of Eoin Morgan's hands running in and diving from long-off.

But between them, until Pollard holed out in the leg-side deep off Bresnan, the fifth-wicket pair did admirably in a stand of 100 to keep West Indies in position to attack the last 10 overs.

Bravo's deserved share amounted to eight fours and two sixes from 82 balls, before he skied Anderson and was well-held by Ravi Bopara in the penultimate over.

But the suspicion already was already he had merely managed to delay an inevitable home win - and so it proved.


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Louis van Gaal
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own