So England have done exactly what they would have hoped for when they put West Indies in. But they got there by a curious route, allowing Pooran and Hetmyer to add 89 before Joe Root, of all people, made the breakthrough with his licorice all-sorts. England’s two spearheads, Archer and Wood, were both excellent on a lively pitch, and Woakes was immaculate too – albeit, like Wood, not in the field.
West Indies will be wondering why they didn’t use their last five overs and also why their master blasters, Gayle and Russell, both fell into the same trap, trying to clear the Hampshire Bowl’s long boundaries. But they may well be thinking that they can win this, because they have firepower too and England may well be without two of their top four, Roy and Morgan, who both limped off.
“Just another game of cricket,” says Jofra Archer, who turns out to be a comedian as well as a fast bowler.
Thanks for your company, your popish humour and your many unused emails – there was just too much happening. Sport at its most riveting. Now over to Tom Davies to see how this episode turns out.
Wicket!! Gabriel b Wood 0 (WI 212 all out)
That’s it! Wood’s yorker is far too good for Shannon Gabriel. “West Indies blown away by England,” says Nasser Hussain – music to the ears of every England fan who can remember any Test series between 1976 and 1990.
44th over: West Indies 211-9 (Thomas 0, Gabriel 0) That’s a wicket maiden for Archer, who is bowling fast and short. “It’s all in the rhythm and the action,” says Michael Holding. Takes one to know one.
“Purely hypothetical of course,” says Anthony Hulse, “but if it turns out that Jason Roy is done for the tournament, do you think that Alex Hales may all of a sudden be considered rather less of a ‘distraction’?” Haha.
Wicket!! Brathwaite c Buttler b Archer 14 (WI 211-9)
Another one – which may be an injustice, as the ball flicked Brathwaite’s sleeve, but possibly the bat too. Both teams are out of reviews, so he has to go, probably taking his team’s hopes of a late flurry with him.
43rd over: West Indies 211-8 (Brathwaite 14, Thomas 0) Wood comes close to joining the caught-and-bowled party as Brathwaite has a flail and mistimes it. If Wood had caught that, it would have made one of the all-time great cricket pictures, as he was practically horizontal in his follow-through, sticking up a hand, like a salmon with a periscope. Brathwaite responds with a six, over midwicket, nice and easy.
42nd over: West Indies 204-8 (Brathwaite 7, Thomas 0) Buttler’s confidence gets the better of him as he reviews again, for caught behind off Archer, and the replay shows the ball hitting nothing at all. England are out of reviews but still on top – only 15 off the past five overs.
“Hi Tim,” says GSG on Twitter. ”Things seem to be ticking along, but is the fielding starting to be a cause for concern? Drops today plus the shambles against Pakistan, whereas it had recently been such a suffocating strength for Eng.” Maybe, but today’s fumbles didn’t cost much, unlike Roy’s gift to Mohammad Hafeez.
41st over: West Indies 203-8 (Brathwaite 6, Thomas 0) Buttler keeps Rashid on and gets some reward – five dots and a single. England are doing rather well, for a nine-man team.
40th over: West Indies 202-8 (Brathwaite 5, Thomas 0) So England lose Morgan, who walked off, very gingerly, after dashing to the stumps to take a throw. But they don’t miss him yet, as Buttler goes for a shrewd review and Archer takes two wickets. The only nerves he’s shown against his old team came with a wide off his first ball; since then he’s been fast, testing, exemplary.
“About that hamstring,” says Sarah O’Regan. “I suppose a torn ham is not too dissimilar to pulled pork.” Love it.
Wicket!! Cottrell lbw b Archer 0 (WI 202-8)
Two in two balls for Archer, who is the kind of Archer you’d have wanted on your side at Agincourt.
Wicket? Cottrell given lbw to Archer
This looks so plumb that even umpire Dharmasena gives it, but the Windies may as well review.
Wicket!! Pooran c Buttler b Archer 63 (WI 202-7)
Gone! A flick of the gloves, and a superb review by Buttler, who had just taken over as captain after Morgan left the field injured. So they’ve removed Pooran, who was the man who was holding the show together. England well on top, but two batsmen down.
Review! For caught behind off Archer
Buttler thinks he’s got Pooran…
39th over: West Indies 200-6 (Pooran 63, Brathwaite 4) Back to spin! Wood is no sooner back than off again, to discuss figures of 5-0-11-2 with his mate the imaginary horse. Rashid comes back and gets milked. Strange move, that.
38th over: West Indies 192-6 (Pooran 57, Brathwaite 2) After making all the difference with spin from both ends, Morgan has done an about-turn and brought back Archer to join Wood for some fireworks. “Archer’s just plonking it on a length,” says Michael Slater. “Just plonking it at 145 Ks,” chuckles Mike Atherton.
37th over: West Indies 189-6 (Pooran 55, Brathwaite 1) So Wood strikes immediately, West Indies’ wobble continues, and England have a great chance to go for the jugular.
“Errmmm….” says Peter Gluckstein.”No mention of Jason Roy’s hamstring. Looked pretty terminal…any word?” Fair question, but when two spinners are on, there’s not much time to play with (if you’ve emailed, apologies). Roy can only bat at No.7 or lower, so I suspect Root, he of the golden arm, will open with Bairstow.
Wicket!! Russell b Woakes b Wood 21 (WI 188-6)
Woakes atones! Russell makes the same rookie error as Gayle, taking on one of the longest boundaries in this World Cup, and this time Woakes doesn’t put a finger wrong.
36th over: West Indies 184-5 (Pooran 55, Russell 17) Russell gets patched up and soldiers on. Meanwhile Nasser Hussain has spotted that Root’s second wicket (Holder) came off a knuckle ball, which is an unusual ploy from a spinner. Trying it again, Root bowls a very wide wide, which costs five, but the rest of the over is immaculate.
35th over: West Indies 175-5 (Pooran 52, Russell 16) Russell rubs it in by hitting Rashid for six over midwicket and six more over long-on. He has 16 off only 12. On the basis of how well Wood bowled after dropping Gayle, Morgan should now bring Woakes back. Hang on – Russell seems to have hurt his wrist playing the second of those big hits. Like Jos Buttler, he’s such a dangerous hitter, he’s a danger to himself.
Dropped! Russell (3) off Rashid by Woakes
Woakes, who had Gayle dropped earlier, now blots his own copybook as Russell goes for a slog and gets a top edge. That wasn’t so hard.
34th over: West Indies 161-5 (Pooran 51, Russell 3) Another good over from Root, who is even keeping the explosive Russell quiet. He has the surreal figures of 4-0-18-2.
33rd over: West Indies 158-5 (Pooran 50, Russell 0) Pooran, who has been watching this cartoon from the other end, reaches a well-made fifty. Andre Russell is almost out first ball, inside-edging Rashid, who is a different bowler since he was joined by Root. Maybe it’s not that he is such great mates with Mo, just that he prefers hunting in pairs.
32nd over: West Indies 156-5 (Pooran 49, Russell 0) Holder had just hit Root for six with an effortless swish down the ground. Next ball, Root goddim, and he’s now the only bowler with two wickets today.
Wicket!! Holder c & b Root 9 (WI 156-5)
Another one! And another caught and bowled! Root deceives Holder with his lack of spin, the ball hits the back of the bat and it’s an even simpler catch than the previous one. This match has suddenly turned into an episode of Tom and Jerry.
31st over: West Indies 147-4 (Pooran 47, Holder 2) Rashid, back in the groove, concedes only two.
Just before the wicket, Rebecca Graham had a very polite question. “Can I ask why Hetmyer is not wearing a helmet?” Because he was facing spin at both ends – which turned out to be his undoing. Not the cap, but the frustration he felt at not being able to dominate.
30th over: West Indies 145-4 (Pooran 46, Holder 1) So England strike, thanks to an inspired hunch from Morgan, but that spell of ten overs largely belonged to West Indies, who added 63-1.
Wicket!! Hetmyer c & b Root 39 (West Indies 144-4)
Breakthrough! Hetmyer gets a simple push too high on the bat and gives Root a simple return catch. Well bowled Root, and Rashid, who built the pressure.
29th over: West Indies 141-3 (Pooran 44, Hetmyer 38) Rashid continues, when many a captain would have sent for Wood or Archer, but the hunch pays off as he’s suddenly all over Hetmyer like a Rash. The pendulum is swinging back again.
28th over: West Indies 139-3 (Pooran 43, Hetmyer 37) Seeing the need to do something, Morgan brings on another spinner – Joe Root, as there are two left-handers in and Adil’s mate Moeen wasn’t picked today. Root, bowling only his third ODI over this year, rises to the challenge by conceding only a couple of singles. Genius!
27th over: West Indies 137-3 (Pooran 42, Hetmyer 36) Morgan has great faith in Rashid, which has done much to make him a star in this format. But the faith is being tested today: with 0 for 32 from four overs, Rashid is the only bowler who’s been expensive.
“I don’t know what is going off out there at the moment,” splutters Jo Davis. “Is that really Shane Warne criticising someone for being over-aggressive that I can hear? And if so, is this literally the first time this has ever happened, or can anyone think of a precedent?”
26th over: West Indies 130-3 (Pooran 37, Hetmyer 34) Now Hetmyer finds his range, pulling a short ball from Stokes for an imperious four, then whacking a full one with the same result. The tannoy mysteriously fails to play Stand And Deliver by Adam and the Ants. Another good over for these two batsmen, who’ve been trying to dominate for ages and are now succeeding.
25th over: West Indies 118-3 (Pooran 36, Hetmyer 23) Pooran rocks back and pulls Rashid for six! That was definitely Gayle-like. Then he tries it again and succeeds only in hitting Ben Stokes, at midwicket, on the hand. It looks seriously painful, so naturally Stokes stays on the field. At the halfway stage, West Indies are getting on top: Morgan needs to do something to stop this becoming a normal one-day game.
24th over: West Indies 106-3 (Pooran 24, Hetmyer 23) A cut by Hetmyer off Stokes brings up the fifty partnership, which is very good going in the circumstances, even if the shot selection has been erratic.
Another popish point from Clovis the Apostate. (Which is not a sentence a cricket writer has ever uttered before. Eat your heart out, EW Swanton.) “Would he make the Emperor Gayle wait in the snow, though?
23rd over: West Indies 103-3 (Pooran 23, Hetmyer 22) Hetmyer finds his feet, using them to get to the pitch and loft Rashid for four.
22nd over: West Indies 94-3 (Pooran 21, Hetmyer 16) Stokes is banging it in and Hetmyer is trying to be Gayle, waiting with the pull. He just clears midwicket, picking up two, before Pooran shows how it’s done, using the pace in the pitch to play more of a flick-pull for four behind square.
Nakul Pande answers Gary Naylor’s question (21st over). “Victor ‘The Fourth’ Trumper was pretty handy.”
21st over: West Indies 85-3 (Pooran 15, Hetmyer 13) The first glimpse of spin, from Adil Rashid, the only frontline spinner in the match, who’ll be sorry to have missed out on bowling to his bunny, Chris Gayle. Rashid beats Pooran’s outside edge with a googly.
20th over: West Indies 82-3 (Pooran 14, Hetmyer 11) On comes Ben Stokes, who concedes only three as Pooran and Hetmyer continue to play big shots without deigning to check where the fielders are. It’s fun to play at the YMCA.
“Morning Tim!” Morning, Sarah O’Regan. “I’ve just arrived on the OBO page to find this excellent start by England. Plunkett? Plunk THAT, bitches. (Is that OBO-friendly?) Looking forward to the coverage.” Friendly enough for me – it’s how one member of my family addresses the rest of us, most of the time.
On another tack, there’s a tweet from Gary Naylor. “Is Nicholas Pooran the first 12th century Pope to play international cricket?”
19th over: West Indies 79-3 (Pooran 13, Hetmyer 9) After the indignities of his previous over, Plunkett restricts these young men to three singles and a leg bye, which is surely a rom-com waiting to happen.
A question from John Cox. “Has DRS altered the way umpires are supposed to umpire? Previously (my understanding anyway) most umpires erred on the side of not out unless they were pretty sure. Does the availability of a review mean they should be more inclined to the middle (especially giving caught-behinds out and ignoring inside edges on lbws, since if the batsman didn’t hit it he can always review)?”
18th over: West Indies 75-3 (Pooran 12, Hetmyer 7) More thrift from Wood. Hetmyer is itching to get after him, but succeeds only in breaking his own bat as he tries to biff a full one back past the bowler. Wood responds with a bouncer that turns the pitch into a trampoline and tests Jos Buttler’s injured hip. Oshane Thomas may be quite encouraged by that.
17th over: West Indies 73-3 (Pooran 11, Hetmyer 7) Pooran plays the shot of the day by a man not named Gayle, a back-foot square drive off Plunkett. Hetmyer, taking the hint, muscles a pull for four, not far from the fielder at midwicket.
“Loving the OBO,” says Nick Hinde, nicely. “Sending this from a rainy Phnom Penh.” Even nicer. “When I was a regular at Grace Road and Trent Bridge, the mark of a ‘serious’ spectator to be held in great respect was completing a scorecard.” Ha.
16th over: West Indies 61-3 (Pooran 4, Hetmyer 3) Wood has shrugged off the dropped catch, and that sore ankle, to show his best form. He beats Pooran twice and then finds the edge, which gives Joe Root a quarter-chance, diving to his left at first and only slip. Is that Morgan, again, erring on the side of caution? Wood has fine figures of 3-0-4-1, but 3-0-12-2 would surely be even better.