A dramatic turnaround from Sam Curran (3/33) and Gus Atkinson (2/28) helped England draw level with the West Indies in the ongoing three-match ODI series, with a six-wicket win in the second fixture at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on December 6 (Wednesday).
Skipper Jos Buttler won the toss for the second-consecutive time in the series and decided to bowl first after his decision to bat first in the first ODI hadn’t produced the desired result. The surface had plenty in it for the pacers early on and the England seamers made the most of the same.
The visitors had the hosts on the backfoot immediately. The Windies were reduced to four for 23 inside the first seven overs and found themselves behind the eight ball since then.
A 129-run stand for the fifth wicket between skipper Shai Hope and Sherfane Rutherford rescued the hosts from a precarious position. Hope’s run-a-ball 68 guided the West Indies to a respectable total and Rutherford’s 83-ball 60 stabilised the dwindling boat.
Liam Livingstone broke the defiant stand with Rutherford’s wicket and brought the Three Lions roaring back into the innings. The English batting allrounder also dismissed Hope in the 34th over of the game to put an end to West Indies’ resistance.
The Men in Maroon couldn’t even manage to play their quota of 50 overs as they folded for 202 in 39.4.
The run chase began with authority for the touring party as Will Jacks and Phil Salt stitched a half-century partnership for the opening wicket in 5.5 overs. While Salt (21 off 15 balls) couldn’t continue his merry way, Jacks (73 off 72 balls) kept attacking the Windies bowlers and didn’t let them wrestle any control back.
Jacks lost partners around him but scored his second ODI fifty to put England on course for a comeback win. His breezy knock included six fours and four sixes.
After the dismissal of Jacks, Buttler (58* off 45 balls) and Harry Brook (43* off 49 balls) got together in the middle and ensured that England got over the line without any more hiccups. The English skipper ended his dry spell with the bat and hit four fours and three sixes on his way to a historic milestone.
Buttler became the fifth English batter to score 5000 ODI runs and seemed content during the post-match presentation with a victory and some hard-earned form under his belt.
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