England too good for WI
ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC):
Jason Mohammed hit a maiden One-Day International half-century and Jonathan Carter gathered his third but West Indies failed to come to grips with a challenging run chase, and slumped to a 45-run defeat to England in the opening game of a three-match series here yesterday.
Asked to overhaul 297 after England captain Eoin Morgan had struck his 10th ODI hundred, West Indies lost wickets in clusters and were bowled out for 251 in the 48th over, to suffer their sixth one-day defeat in their last eight outings.
Mohammed, in only his third ODI and his first international appearance in two years, top-scored with 72 while Carter weighed in with a robust 52 and Shai Hope, 31.
The right-handed Mohammed anchored two successive half stands which pulled West Indies around from danger at 39 for three in the 12th over and lifted them into a strong position at 190 for four in the 39th over.
But Carter's dismissal signalled a decline for the hosts and they lost their last wickets for 61 runs in the space of 54 balls, to fall behind in the series.
Seamers Liam Plunkett (4-40) and Chris Woakes (4-47) did nearly all the damage, grabbing four wickets apiece, to underline a potent England performance ahead of Sunday's second game at the same venue.
Sent in, the tourists slumped to 29 for two in the eighth over after speedster Shannon Gabriel struck twice early on but the left-handed Morgan came to his side's rescue with a superb 107 off 116 deliveries.
All-rounder Ben Stokes hit 55 and opener Sam Billings gathered 52, while Moeen Ali came at the end to produce a cameo unbeaten 31 from 22 balls.
Following a half-hour delayed start because of wet run-ups and then rain, England found themselves stunned after Gabriel prised out Jason Roy (13) and Joe Root (4) cheaply.
Roy, dropped by captain Jason Holder off a caught and bowled chance in the fifth over, perished in the following over - leg before wicket on the back foot to one which kept low.
Gabriel then got the prized wicket of Root, spectacularly bowling the right-hander with a quick delivery which jagged back and found the batsman rooted to the crease.
fourth highest total
However, Morgan arrived to steady the innings, anchoring three partnerships which ensured England reached the fourth highest total at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.
He put on 67 for the third wicket with Billings, 110 for the fifth wicket with Stokes before adding a further 53 with Moeen Ali for the sixth wicket.
Morgan, dropped on four in the 11th over by Kieran Powell at first slip off the first ball of seamer Carlos Brathwaite's opening spell, made the most of the opportunity to raise his 32nd ODI half-century off 67 balls in the 31st over.
He then required only another 45 deliveries to reach three figures, clearing the ropes at mid-wicket with Brathwaite to bring up the landmark in the 48th over.