Joe Root and Jos Buttler lead rejuvenated England into their brave new era
England 303-6 West Indies 278 (England win by 25 runs)
So that is what a new era looks like. England produced a refreshingly complete limited-overs performance which would have graced any age but was precisely what was demanded in the here and now.
They defeated West Indies by 25 runs to win by 2-1 a one-day series which was an oddity in the schedules. Joe Root scored a seamless maiden ODI hundred, Jos Buttler made a blazing 99 and they shared a partnership of 175, England's second highest for the fifth wicket.
The wickets were evenly shared, but as soon as two fell in the first seven balls of West Indies' reply, it was England's match to lose. It was far from straightforward, however, and West Indies refused to succumb as wickets continued to fall.
Denesh Ramdin scored a maiden one-day century of his own at the 81st time of asking, probably the innings of his life, and there was enough dogged, attacking resistance to keep the party stand buoyant to the end.
But with England's captain, Stuart Broad, changing his bowlers regularly and with Tim Bresnan providing a hugely impressive display in which his length was usually impeccable, England squeezed home by bowling out their opponents in the 48th over.
It was difficult to know what to expect of England when they set out for this mini-tour as a precursor to the World Twenty20. The previous few months had been cataclysmic for the English game and when they went down in the first match of the series last week, mucking up from two winning positions, it was possible to dread the worst.
But they hung on to take a nerve-shredder in the second match and in the third provided abundant reasons to trust that the future might be brighter than was feared. They had to hang on again and keep their nerves and their tempers as West Indies played some big shots, with nothing to lose towards the end.
For Root, it was a kind of new beginning after a difficult winter. Like most of other England's batsmen he appeared traumatised for much of the Ashes campaign but a few weeks at home seems to have revived his spirits.
He is not a dashing strokemaker in this form of the game and he may have to put a yard or two on to his distance as the years go by but he is the sort who the others can play around. It was pretty glittering stuff, as he accrued singles and twos, always looking as though he was playing within himself, always in control.
Root probably could not have done it without Buttler, who is starting to look like the sort of player who comes along once in a generation. There are occasions, peculiarly, when he can look hopelessly inept but this was not among those.
Buttler was glorious to watch, drilling shots off front foot and back, employing the switch hit and the overhead paddle. When he is batting in this mode he is impossible to take your eyes off.
West Indies were 10 for 2 in the second over and then 43 for 4 in the eighth. Ramdin, batting at six, played dazzlingly, however, refusing to give up and causing palpitations among the vocal England support as he accelerated. England missed a chance or two but finally Bresnan pierced Ramdin's defences with a yorker.
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