It was not just the nearby bushfire that sent smoke and ash down on to Warner Park that gave this match an end-of-days feel, but also the atrocious batting from West Indies that handed England a notable 3-0 series whitewash against the current T20 world champions.
Just two days after routing the home side for 45 at this same venue, Eoin Morgan’s team were at it again – this time bowling out their opponents for 71 before knocking off their target with an England-record 57 deliveries to spare.
This was the second-lowest total England have bowled a team out for in T20 internationals, with career-best hauls in this format of four for seven for David Willey and three for nine for Mark Wood doing most of the damage. Joe Denly and Adil Rashid, the leg-spinner striking with two googlies, picked up the other three wickets.
At least this was some kind of improvement for West Indies, whose 45 on Friday was the second-lowest total in T20 international history.
However, after a tour that had seen England defeated in the Tests and held to a 2-2 draw in the one-day series, this was a fine way for the visitors to conclude their business in the Caribbean, especially as key players in Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Jason Roy were all rested for these three T20s.
England made one change to the team that won the first two matches of this series, with Wood coming in for Liam Plunkett, the Surrey fast bowler who has a minor fracture in a finger on his right hand.
However, there was no place in the XI for Dawid Malan. England’s top runscorer in last winter’s T20 Tri-Series in Australia and New Zealand has not played international cricket since being dropped after last summer’s first Test against India at Edgbaston.
West Indies, who decided to bat first after winning the toss, left Chris Gayle out of their team, with the man of the series in the recent one-dayers replaced by John Campbell. Gayle made just 20 runs in the first two T20s and whether rested or dropped, the 39-year-old was probably not too upset at missing a contest with absolutely nothing riding on it.
West Indies looked distinctly disinterested, too, as they slumped to 24 for four in the fifth over of their innings, Willey picking up all four wickets inside his first 15 deliveries. Shai Hope slapped the very first of the match straight to short cover. Shimron Hetmyer was next in Willey’s next over, finding Chris Jordan at mid-off. Both were terrible shots by batsmen fooled by slower deliveries.
Yet Willey wasn’t done yet, removing Campbell, whose mistimed pull shot found cover, and Darren Bravo, edging a fine delivery that prompted a smart catch from the wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, in the space of three deliveries. Just two days after Chris Jordan had taken four for six in the second match of this series, Willey now had the second-best figures for an England T20 bowler.
Despite the excellence of England’s display in the field, there was one drop by Joe Root at mid-on to reprieve Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, on three.
Wood had bowled with real pace and aggression during the recent one-day series. After being rested for the first two T20s, he was even quicker here, with five of the deliveries in his second over clocked at above 90mph. It was actually his slower delivery in that over, though, that claimed the scalp of Nicholas Pooran, who was the victim of a quite brilliant running catch by Jordan at deep midwicket.
After Holder had smashed Joe Denly to Jordan at long-on in the previous over, West Indies found themselves 48 for six at the halfway point of their innings.
But just like on Friday, this game was in a hurry to finish as Adil Rashid’s bowled a perplexed Fabian Allen with a googly, and Wood struck twice more to leave West Indies on 60 for nine in the 12th over.
The first of those two wickets in four deliveries was thanks to a brilliant diving catch from Bairstow that saw the back of Carlos Brathwaite. The second was a full toss that sent Sheldon Cottrell’s off-stump cartwheeling through the air.
It really was carnage. By the time Rashid bowled Obed McCoy with the final delivery of the 13th over it felt like an act of mercy. In the space of 72 hours West Indies had scored a combined 116 for 20.
England, who had made 182 for six on Friday, were never going to be tested by this paltry target despite the losses of Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow, with Morgan aptly hitting the winning runs off Devendra Bishoo.
West Indies Innings (20 overs maximum)
SD Hope † c Hales b Willey 0
JD Campbell c Denly b Willey 11
SO Hetmyer c Jordan b Willey 8
DM Bravo c †Bairstow b Willey 4
JO Holder (c) c Jordan b Denly 11
N Pooran c Jordan b Wood 11
FA Allen b Rashid 7
CR Brathwaite c †Bairstow b Wood 0
D Bishoo not out 3
SS Cottrell b Wood 4
OC McCoy b Rashid 10
Extras (b 1, w 1) 2
TOTAL (13 Overs, RR: 5.46) 71
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (SD Hope, 0.1 ov), 2-10 (SO Hetmyer, 2.4 ov), 3-24 (JD Campbell, 4.1 ov), 4-24 (DM Bravo, 4.3 ov), 5-45 (JO Holder, 8.5 ov), 6-48 (N Pooran, 9.4 ov), 7-54 (FA Allen, 10.3 ov), 8-56 (CR Brathwaite, 11.2 ov), 9-60 (SS Cottrell, 11.5 ov), 10-71 (OC McCoy, 12.6 ov)
DJ Willey (3-0-7-4)
TK Curran (1-0-8-0)
CJ Jordan (2-0-14-0)
JL Denly (2-0-14-1)
MA Wood (3-0-9-3)
AU Rashid (2-0-18-2)
AD Hales c Campbell b Holder 20
JM Bairstow † b Bishoo 37
JE Root not out 4
EJG Morgan (c) not out 10
Extras 1 (w 1)
TOTAL (10.3 Overs, RR: 6.85) 72/2
Yet to bat: JL Denly, SW Billings, DJ Willey, TK Curran, CJ Jordan, AU Rashid, MA Wood
Fall of wickets: 1-28 (AD Hales, 4.3 ov), 2-60 (JM Bairstow, 8.1 ov)
SS Cottrell (1-0-16-0)
FA Allen (4-1-25-0)
JO Holder (3-0-19-1)
D Bishoo (1.3-1-11-1)
JD Campbell (1-0-1-0)