If the first ODI was a boxing match, England would have scored a TKO in the final round. The result was pretty much as expected, with a few notable displays in England’s largely workaday performance, but West Indies will have been encouraged by pretty much going the distance. A 45-run defeat was certainly not the mismatched mauling some may have feared.
Shannon Gabriel’s new-ball spell had England in trouble, while Ashley Nurse did a decent containing job in the middle overs; then with the bat, Jason Mohammed led the resistance after West Indies looked to be in trouble at 39 for 3. Mohammed and Jonathan Carter combined composure with power – particularly in the case of the latter – and perhaps only the difficulty of chasing on a slow surface undermined them towards the end.
Stuart Law, West Indies’ new coach, will surely feel he has some ingredients to work with as he tries to marshal a rise from No. 9 in the rankings and secure automatic World Cup qualification. Narrow defeats are not worth any more ranking points than heavy ones, however, and immediate improvement could be required as the tourists warm to the conditions and the task at hand.