Jonny Bairstow blasted a maiden one-day international hundred as England condemned West Indies to a seven-wicket defeat at Old Trafford on Tuesday, meaning the twice former champions can no longer gain direct entry to the 2019 World Cup.
West Indies, the 1975 and 1979 World Cup winners, had to take this five-match series 5-0 or 4-0 with a tie or no result if they were to avoid the indignity of a qualifying competition for the next edition in England in two years’ time.
But a total of 204 for nine, in a series-opener reduced to 42 overs per side after a wet outfield delayed the start by two hours, never looked enough. England finished on 210 for three, with a mammoth 67 balls to spare. Bairstow, who justified his retention at the top of the order, was exactly 100 not out – his first century in 28 matches at this level.
Ben Stokes, who ended the contest with a six off spinner Ashley Nurse, was 23 not out. Test wicket-keeper Bairstow, who made 43 as an opener in England’s last ODI – an eight-wicket Champions Trophy semi-final defeat by eventual winners Pakistan in Cardiff in June – kept his place at the top of the order instead of Jason Roy after the Surrey opener was out for a golden duck in West Indies’ T20 victory in Durham on Saturday.
Bairstow was quickly into his stride, driving West Indies captain Jason Holder through the covers for the first of 11 fours in 97 balls.
Together with Yorkshire team-mate Joe Root he put on 125 in 19 overs for the second wicket before England’s Test captain played-on to Kesrick Williams for 54.
But Bairstow, whose previous highest ODI score was a match-winning 83 not out against New Zealand in Durham two years ago, carried on to a hundred, going to three figures with a hard-run three off Nurse.
The no-result part of the equation that would have aided West Indies looked a possibility when, despite bright sunshine, concerns over damp patches near the pitch meant the day/night fixture in Manchester did not start until 1330 GMT.
But after a breezy first-wicket stand of 45 between Chris Gayle (37) and Evin Lewis (11), the innings fell away.
Stokes took three for 43 with only Holder’s 41 not out ensuring the tourists got past 200.
Holder’s decision to bat first meant big-hitting opener Gayle was straight into the action for his first ODI since the 2015 World Cup following a dispute with Caribbean cricket chiefs.
Gayle should have been out for a third-ball duck when he edged a drive off Chris Woakes only for second slip Root to drop the catch.—AFP