Jos Buttler's Caribbean cameo cannot hide World Twenty20 worries
West Indies 155-5 England 152-7 (WI win by 5 wickets to take series)
With the World Twenty20 a mere three days away, England produced yet another uncertain performance of the shortest form's arts. They went down by five wickets to the West Indies in this second game, and lose the three-match series.
What perhaps mattered more than the defeat, with one match to go on Thursday, was the evidence that England are still casting around for a workable method for the tournament in Bangladesh starting on Sunday. They were better but not that much better. The feeling is that time may already have run out.
From 26 for 3 in the fifth over, England effected a recovery through the charmingly blazing bat of Jos Buttler. But West Indies came out slugging at the start of their response and after that it was a case simply of seeing it through. They, too, had their moments of doubt as England refused to disappear without trace, as they had in last Sunday's defeat, but there was enough fuel in the tank and shots in the locker to see them through with seven balls to spare.
On this occasion England appeared to have judged the pitch correctly by including two mores spinners, Stephen Parry and Moeen Ali, one of whom did not bowl. But that does not mean they picked the most efficient team with a major tournament looming so quickly.
Buttler is never dull. Were he to pursue a career to match his name, he would come into the drawing room to serve his lordship a gin and tonic on a silver platter, perform a double backward somersault with pike and not spill a drop.
He is supposed to be the finisher in this form of the game but on this occasion he had to be the start, the middle and almost the end. He did not quite complete the third act.
There were three sixes and three fours in his 67 from 43 balls and it is at least arguable that he was forced into deceleration by the rain delay of 45 minutes just as he was entering into full stride.
Together with Alex Hales, who was altogether much less convincing, he rescued an innings that was again heading for disaster.
In wisdom which can probably be considered less than infinite, England chose to go into the match without Ian Bell, who has replaced the injured Joe Root in their squad for this series and the World Twenty20. To have Bell, one of the world's leading batsmen, around to carry drinks almost amounts to disrespect.
Although he has not played a T20 match for three years (in which case, why have him around?) Bell is presumably a smarter bet than the present top three. Michael Lumb and the new cap Ali failed. Hales was a qualified success but could have been out three times.
The captain Eoin Morgan, standing in for the injured Stuart Broad, was perhaps most culpable, essaying a pick up shot into the wind. Buttler's glamorous innings – there was a scoop for six included – gave England a chance, but West Indies liked the pace on the ball from the start.
Effective middle overs of spin put England back into the match but their opponents' captain, Darren Sammy, plundered in style to secure victory.
Manchester United transfer news: Adnan Januzaj to be offered in deal for Memphis Depay
Arsenal transfer news: Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini set for showdown summer talks over future
David Beckham reveals secret of his success: I 'stayed in to watch Match of the Day' rather than go out with friends on a Saturday night
Real Madrid vs Juventus preview: Juventus know they must attack to match past European glory
Hull vs Arsenal match report: Hull put up a fight but only after slick Gunners are out of sight
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils