Joe Root may only be captain of England’s Test side right now but he showed admirable leadership qualities to guide his country to a series-clinching four-wicket win against West Indies in this second one-day international.
Root’s nerveless unbeaten 90 was critical to rescuing England from the perilous position of 124 for six after a mid-innings collapse that saw five wickets fall against spin.
Yet Root, named Alastair Cook’s successor as Test captain last month, had other ideas. So, too, did Chris Woakes, whose unbeaten 68 represented only his second half-century in 50-over cricket.
In all, the seventh-wicket pair put on an unbroken stand of 102 to see their side home with 10 balls to spare and settle the series before Thursday’s final match in Barbados. Root said: "I wanted to stay calm. We only needed four an over. If a couple of us could bat for 10 overs, we knew we would win the game.
"I told Chris 'Take your time to get in, and let's build something together.' He played exceptionally well, and it's a sign of a good team that we don't rely on one or two players."
England, who won Friday’s first ODI here by 45 runs, had looked ahead of the game at the halfway stage despite losing the toss and being asked to bowl first on a used pitch that was always going to get harder to bat on.
Steven Finn got them off to a good start, removing Evin Lewis and Kieran Powell to reduce the West Indies to 21 for two in the seventh over.
That saw the Middlesex fast bowler become the third quickest England bowler to reach 100 ODI wickets – he took 65 matches - behind only Darren Gough and Stuart Broad.
Ben Stokes, the Indian Premier League’s latest millionaire, went unused as a bowler by Morgan in Friday’s series opener.
But he struck with his ninth ball in this match, Shai Hope edging behind as the hosts slipped to 46 for three.
A 74-run stand between Kraigg Brathwaite and Jason Mohammed was ended by Moeen Ali in the 30th over when the former charged down the pitch and was stumped by Jos Buttler to leave the West Indies on 118 for four.
Mohammed brought up his second successive half-century in this series to guide his past the 150 mark.
But Liam Plunkett removed him for exactly 50 before dismissing Jonathan Carter, both batsmen caught by Adil Rashid inside the ring as the West Indies slumped to 173 for six in the 39th over.
Rashid was in the thick of the action, taking a difficult caught and bowled chance to send Jason Holder back to the pavilion, the home captain looping up a skier that took an age to return back to earth.
If 199 for seven in the 45th over was a precarious position then 225 all out in the 48th was even worse as three wickets fell for just six runs. Rashid removed Carlos Brathwaite and Plunkett Ashley Nurse before Shannon Gabriel was run out by Buttler.
England’s chase got off to a tricky start as Sam Billings was dismissed for a golden duck to just the second ball of the innings, the makeshift opener caught at second slip off Gabriel.
Roy then had a let-off, dropped off Holder in the second over and then surviving a review for caught behind two balls later.
However, the Surrey batsman overcame that scratchy start and soon found his rhythm to score a flowing half-century in 45 balls.
England were cruising on 69 for one after 10 overs of their reply and were still looking confortable on 87 for two even when Roy, on 52, hit Nurse to long on.
That 86-run stand between Root and Roy whittled down the required runs to 139.
However, then the collapse hit as Nurse and Bishoo ran through England’s middle order with four wickets in 30 balls.
Yes, this was a wearing pitch but some of the shot selection was shocking.
The collapse started when Morgan fell lbw to Nurse. Bishoo’s leg-spin then accounted for Stokes and Buttler, both caught behind playing injudicious shots, before Nurse bowled Moeen to put England’s chase, now wobbling on 124 for six, in intensive care.
Only Root, who amid the carnage at the other end posted his 20th ODI half-century, was holding firm.
By this stage the Yorkshireman had Chris Woakes alongside him for company and the pair put England back in charge with a dominant seventh-wicket stand.
Woakes had scored an unbeaten 47 six days earlier to help England to a two-wicket win in their final warm-up match in St Kitts.
And he looked equally composed here, even if he was dropped on 42 in the deep by substitute fielder Rovman Powell, on for the injured Gabriel, before he reached his second ODI half-century, the landmark coming in 65 balls and also bringing up the 200 for his team.
By then England’s victory was a formality, although Root will be disappointed he ran out of runs to post what would have been his ninth ODI hundred.Reuse content