Bring on the Ashes. Bring on the World Twenty20. Bring on the Statue of Liberty with a bat in her hand to be sure of greater animation than has been witnessed during the past six weeks. Bring on anything except another match between England and the West Indies.
Like the tour itself, the third and final one-day international yesterday never took off. England won in utter comfort by 58 runs. Having made a rather jaunty 328 for 7, they bowled out the opposition for 270. Although the match ran almost its full course, it never began in earnest as a contest.
The overwhelming sentiment was one of relief that it was all done. The two teams have been playing each other in one form of the game or another since February – six full Tests, seven one-dayers and a Twenty20 – and it has rather tended to pall.
West Indies were a little better yesterday than they had been in Bristol two days previously, but that did not need an enormous upsurge in either effort or application. It was a routine defeat in a tour of routine defeats.
England's course to their third- highest score in one-dayers of 50 overs – which is less an achievement than indictment – was charted largely by Matt Prior. His innings of 87 was effervescent throughout and only his second half-century in 39 one-day innings.
If this demonstrates that he has been painfully slow to develop his obvious batting potential in the short form of the game it also confirmed that they have been correct in sticking with him. Prior has often made sound starts wherever he has batted in the innings but has been undone by not knowing whether he should stick or twist.
He has been put at No 3 in the order while Kevin Pietersen rests his Achilles tendon and, heretical though it obviously is to say so, did not look out of place as understudy to the great man. He looked comfortable yesterday, his mind no doubt eased by an assertive opening partnership of 81 in 15 overs between Andrew Strauss and Ravi Bopara. The first-wicket pair, dovetailing neatly, looked set for many more before Bopara played on and Strauss was stumped.
Prior was on the verge or being only the second England wicketkeeper to make a one-day hundred when he was bowled blazing away with five overs left. Thus Prior failed to join Alec Stewart, scorer of four centuries as England's keeper. Prior is reminiscent of Stewart in his busy manner at the crease. If he could also imitate his mentor's wicketkeeping method that would be doubly welcome.
England's impressive total, made after losing the toss on an unsettled day, was forged largely through Prior's partnership of 149 with Owais Shah. It is pretty clear that Shah's Test career has been terminated by his inability to calm his nerves. But he seems to remain a key part of England's one-day side, succeeding in India last winter when most of his colleagues were hapless, and his 11th one-day fifty was intelligently and slickly constructed, a front-foot, flat-batted pull off Dwayne Bravo being particularly pleasing.
The total looked more than enough. So it proved. The tourists were never in the hunt. Although Chris Gayle played a couple of booming shots he was out tamely, caught at mid-on off Stuart Broad, the man of the series.
When Ramnaresh Sarwan was smartly caught one-handed at cover by Strauss that seemed to be that. There was always Shiv Chanderpaul, of course, and as ever he hung around. No sooner had he begun to squeeze the accelerator after scoring 68 from 108 balls than he slogged to mid-on. For England, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann were the two most economical bowlers and Swann impresses more each time he takes the field.
These two teams are not quite done. They will play in a warm-up match before the World Twenty20 next week. The world can hardly wait.
Edgbaston scoreboard: 3rd one-day international
England beat West Indies by 58 runs to win three-match series 2-0
West Indies won toss
A J Strauss st Ramdin b Benn 52
R S Bopara b Bravo 49
M J Prior b Taylor 87
O A Shah c Morton b Taylor 75
A D Mascarenhas c & b Pollard 0
P D Collingwood b Taylor 23
E J G Morgan not out 6
T T Bresnan c Rampaul b Pollard 9
S C J Broad not out 6
Extras (b2 lb7 w10 nb2) 21
Total 7 wkts (50 overs) 328
Fall: 1-81 2-129 3-278 4-279 5-289 6-308 7-317
Did not bat: G P Swann, J M Anderson.
Bowling: Taylor 10-1-59-3, Rampaul 4-0-29-0, Edwards 6-0-43-0, Bravo 6-0-43-1, Benn 10-0-51-1, Gayle 5-0-31-0, Pollard 9-0-63-2.
West Indies Innings
C H Gayle c Bopara b Broad 11
R S Morton run out 21
R R Sarwan c Strauss b Anderson 9
S Chanderpaul c Bopara b Broad 68
D J Bravo lbw b Bresnan 26
D Ramdin c Prior b Anderson 45
K A Pollard run out 12
J E Taylor run out 18
S J Benn b Anderson 31
R Rampaul b Swann 16
F H Edwards not out 4
Extras (b2 lb2 w5) 9
Total (49.4 overs) 270
Fall: 1-13 2-22 3-66 4-99 5-181 6-189 7-212 8-223 9-254
Bowling: Broad 10-0-63-2, Anderson 9.4-0-58-3, Mascarenhas 7-0-43-0, Bresnan 10-0-36-1, Swann 8-0-38-1, Collingwood 5-0-28-0
Umpires: S J Davis (Aus) & I J Gould (Eng)
Man of the match: Prior
Man of the series: BroadReuse content