Bopara-Broad stand carries England to victory

St. John's (Antigua), March 3 (IANS/CMC): A decisive eighth-wicket partnership between Ravi Bopara and Stuart Broad has steered England to a three-wicket victory and to square the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium here.

The victory sets up a final and deciding match of the series, ahead of the three Twenty20 Internationals between the teams in Barbados, reported CMC.

Bopara and Broad came together when many expected the visitors to reach the target of 160 without hassles.

However, West Indies made England fight to the end with Bopara (38) and Stuart (28) featuring in a 58-run eighth-wicket partnership to reach 163 for seven with 31 balls remaining.

Left-arm spinner Nikitta Miller with two for 28, Dwayne Bravo two for 41, Sunil Narine one for 25 and Ravi Rampaul one for 40 played stellar roles in the West Indies fightback.

Earlier, England won the toss and decided to bowl for a second straight time. This time the hosts' batting did not fire, with the exception of Lendl Simmons, who made 70, and his captain Dwayne Bravo (20). Only Kieran Powell (16) and Darren Bravo (13) got into double figures as the West Indies folded for 159.

England's Broad did everything right by rotating the bowlers effectively and frustrating the West Indies' batsmen.

The top four batsmen were removed and West Indies were left to rebuild from 81 for four in the 23rd over. Simmons and Dwayne Bravo then added 52 for the fifth wicket before Bravo was dismissed under controversial circumstances with West Indies on 133.

The West Indies were clearly unhappy with Joe Butler's stumping of Bravo, the decision going against the West Indies skipper despite replays indicating the ball may have been out of wicketkeeper Jos Buttler's gloves when the stumps were broken.

England dismissed the last six batsmen for 26 runs and set the stage to square the three-match series.

Debutant Stephen Parry took three for 23 to be named man-of-the-match with Joe Root two for 15 and James Tredwell two for 39 and a wicket each for Moeen Ali, Tim Bresnan and Broad.

Bravo admitted that the lower order batsmen did not deliver and they were far from a reasonable target.

"It was a poor batting display. I expected better. We keep losing early wickets and it's something we have to look at," he said.

"I am happy with the effort of the bowling group but at the same time let down by the batters. They (lower order) will get some harsh words," said Bravo.

The England captain said: "Delighted to have won, we made it hard work. The bowling was awesome, the way the guys learnt from the other day. We had a wobble but great to get over the line. There's some turn for the spinners and were hard to score off."

The third and deciding match will be played Wednesday at the same venue.

Brief scores:

West Indies 159 in 44.2 overs (Lendl Simmons 70, Dwayne Bravo 20; Stephen Parry 3/32, Joe Root 2/15, James Tredwell 2/39).

England 163 for 7 in 44.5 overs (Michael Lumb 39, Ravi Bopara 38 not out, Stuart Broad 28 not out, Nikitta Miller 2/28, Dwayne Bravo 2/41).


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