Lewis, Joseph denied by England’s late DLS dash

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  • Report by Andrew Miller

England 258 for 5 (Roy 84, Moeen 48*, Joseph 5-56) beat West Indies 356 for 5 (Lewis 176*, Holder 77, Woakes 3-71) by six runs (DLS method)
(ESPNcricinfo) A late ram-raid of a sixth-wicket partnership between Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali enabled England to overcome a sensational innings from West Indies’ next big thing, Evin Lewis, and a maiden five-wicket haul from their thrusting speedster, Alzarri Joseph, to wrap up the one-day series with a game to spare in a rain-decided thriller at the Kia Oval.

Set an improbable 357 to win, after Lewis’ astonishing innings of 176 from 130 balls had powered West Indies to their highest ODI total in this country, England were given a flying start by the returning Jason Roy, who made 82 from 66 balls, only for Joseph to rip out each of their first five wickets in the space of 9.4 overs.

From an invidious position of 181 for 5, however, Moeen and Buttler paced their chase to near-perfection, reeling in a DLS par score that had at one stage been 37 runs in West Indies’ favour – first with measured accumulation and then with that familiar turn of timing and guile that characterises both men at their very best.

We’ve seen plenty of the best of Moeen in recent times, and he was at it once again today, picking up where he left off at Bristol with another telling contribution of 48 not out from 25 balls. The first signs of a coup came in Ashley Nurse’s third and final over, a volley of six, four, six, each fiercely walloped back down the ground, and with Buttler dinking the angles and battering the drives, England’s charge was well and truly on.

And, had England been able to call up the rain on cue, they could not have timed their chase any more perfectly, with Moeen drilling a pair of drives in Jerome Taylor’s final over – the second as the rain was already falling – to reach their par score of 252, and leave the field two runs later with a 3-0 series win all but mopped up.

It was a cruel end to a valiant performance for West Indies, and made all the more cruel in light of the incident that brought a premature end to Lewis’ bombastic display. With 17 fours and seven sixes already to his name, he would surely have taken West Indies to even greater heights had he not inside-edged a Jake Ball yorker onto his right ankle and been forced to retire hurt with 22 balls remaining. X-rays subsequently revealed a hairline fracture and he will miss the final match at the Ageas Bowl on Friday.

More to follow

West Indies 356 for 5 (Lewis 176*, Holder 77, Woakes 3-71) v England

Evin Lewis lived up to his billing as the next big thing of West Indies cricket with a sensational innings of 176 from 130 balls in the fourth ODI at The Kia Oval. In a contest they must win to have any hope of squaring the series in Friday’s finale at the Ageas Bowl, Lewis withstood a three-wicket top-order onslaught from Chris Woakes before turning on the style in the closing overs to lift his side to a hugely competitive total of 356 for 5.

Lewis, who has been spoken of in hushed tones since bursting on the scene, first in the Caribbean Premier League and more recently with a brilliant match winning century in a T20 against India in Jamaica, crashed 17 fours and seven sixes and would surely have gone on to even greater heights had he not been forced to retire hurt with 22 balls remaining. He was stretchered off after inside-edging a ball into his foot and was soon taken for an x-ray.

West Indies’ Evin Lewis reacts after being hit by the ball during the fourth One-Day International (ODI) cricket match between England and the West Indies at the Oval in London on September 27, 2017. (AFP)

Instead, he settled for propelling West Indies to their highest score in an ODI in England, first in conjunction with Jason Mohammed, who made a composed 46, and then with his captain, Jason Holder, who rounded off the innings with a scarcely less valuable knock of 77 from 62 balls, including four fours and four sixes.

It was an innings of two halves for West Indies – or more specifically, four-fifths attrition and one-fifth turbo-charged flamboyance, as Lewis and Holder (and latterly Rovman Powell) tore a leaf from Moeen Ali’s book of back-end biffing to crash each one of their team’s combined tally of 13 sixes in the final 11 overs of the innings.

The show truly began with the return of Liam Plunkett for the 40th over of the innings, with West Indies steadily placed on 212 for 4, having at one stage been 33 for 3. Lewis, who hitherto had barely played a single shot out of his comfort zone in amassing 109 from 105 balls, climbed into a steepling pull that just had the legs to plop over the head of Adil Rashid on the backward square boundary.

A miss is as good as a mile in such circumstances, and emboldened by the end result, Lewis planted his front foot to dump Plunkett’s next delivery straight down the ground for another six. A googly from Rashid’s next over might have ended the fun but Jason Roy in the covers couldn’t cling on, and the upshot was another volley of six and four – a powerful strike over midwicket followed by a tickle through fine leg.

Holder took his cue in the next over, from Moeen Ali, thundering two long-levered blows straight down the ground, and thereafter it was tin-hat time for a packed Oval crowd, as the pair matched each other swing for swing in a gleeful rampage to the finish line.

The only check to their progress came in the 47th over when Lewis, cramped for room by a Jake Ball yorker, stabbed his bat down late and inside-edged the ball painfully onto his ankle. After a lengthy break for treatment, and the appearance of a stretcher, he was thankfully able to walk from the field, albeit with assistance, as a ground that has witnessed some of the greatest feats of West Indian strokeplay rose as one for the Caribbean’s new hero.

England’s bowlers might not agree, but West Indies’ onslaught was precisely the tonic that this match had needed, given that its build-up had been so comprehensively overshadowed by the aftermath of the last meeting of these two teams, in Bristol on Sunday.

England won the toss and bowled first on a pitch that Eoin Morgan hoped might nibble around a touch under hazy skies in South London. And Morgan emphatically got his wish, as Woakes tore in from the Vauxhall End of the ground to rip through West Indies’ top order with 3 for 16 in his first 19 balls.

First to go was the main man of West Indies’ line-up, Chris Gayle, whose 94 from 78 balls at Bristol had briefly kept alive his side’s hopes of hunting down a hefty target of 370. This time he lasted just four deliveries before Woakes jagged a good-length lifter across his bows for Joe Root to pocket a neat catch at second slip.

Before West Indies could find their footing, they were 19 for 2 as Shai Hope dangled his bat way outside off stump, and burned through his team’s review to boot. And when Marlon Samuels’ dismal series continued – pinned lbw for 1 from seven balls to a Woakes delivery that would have trimmed his bails, West Indies were in disarray at 33 for 3.

But Lewis, whose burgeoning reputation has, to date, been based around power more than longevity, displayed another aspect of his batting character in a hugely responsible rebuilding effort. With Mohammad alongside him, he set about adding 117 for the fourth wicket to reinflate his team’s prospects.

In reaching a chanceless century, Lewis picked off 14 fours before launching that late volley of sixes, the majority either drilled through the covers or pulled deftly off the pads, as he cashed in on a true surface against an England team who fronted up well after the shocks of the previous 48 hours but who might conceivably have had other matters weighing on their minds.

At the other end, Mohammed looked set to bring up his first fifty of the series until he leant back on a cut against Rashid and feathered an edge through to Jos Buttler behind the stumps. His innings of 46 had included one scorching let-off on 10 where Morgan couldn’t cling onto a belting drive at short cover, but for the most part it had been the consummate sidekick’s knock, as he worked the singles (rarely a strong point of West Indies’ game) to bring his talented partner onto strike.

And Lewis kept on delivering even after Mohammed’s departure, bringing up his century with a flick off the hips for four as Woakes returned for his second spell. Holder followed suit in the second-fiddle role – even forcing Morgan into another spectacular drop in the covers – before he too turned on his style with an onslaught that only came to an end when he holed out to deep midwicket off the final ball of the innings.

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