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West Indies End Tour With Another Defeat

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The West Indies team finished off its brief England tour winless and with a whimper on Tuesday, soundly defeated by 58 runs in the third and final One-Day International in Birmingham.

The hosts, following a washout at Leeds and a comfortable six-wicket win at Bristol, took the three-match series 2-0 and deservingly lifted the NatWest Trophy to add to their 2-0 sweep in the Tests.

England, so dominant throughout the past three weeks, piled up 328 for seven off 50 overs, their sixth highest ODI total of all-time, and highest against these opponents.

Man of the Match Matt Prior, with a career-best 87 off 86 balls, and Owais Shah (75 off 65 balls) emphasized England’s superiority in a third wicket stand of 149 in 20.3 overs.

Captain Andrew Strauss (52) and Ravi Bopara (49) had set the platform with a free-flowing opening stand of 81 that spanned the first 15 Powerplay overs.

The West Indies, after winning the toss, bowled too short and wide and only pacer Jerome Taylor (three for 59) and left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn (one for 51) emerged with any credit.

The tourists’ run chase was virtually condemned to failure once captain, Chris Gayle (11), and Ramnaresh Sarwan (9) fell inside the first four overs.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul hit a top score of 68 but occupied the crease for 108 deliveries.

The veteran left-hander and vice captain, Denesh Ramdin (45 off 48 balls), offered some flickering hope in a fifth wicket partnership of 82.

But both fell as the run rate climbed to nearly 12 an over.

The new ball pair of James Anderson (three for 58) and Stuart Broad (two for 63) was again stellar for England while fellow seamer, Tim Bresnan, delivered the most economical spell of the match with one for 36 from 10 overs.

Bopara, an emerging star of England’s batting, and his confident captain Strauss, made use of some indifferent West Indian bowling to set the tone for the day.

They added 81 with little bother before Bopara (54 balls, seven fours) fell one short of his half century when he deflected Dwayne Bravo back onto his stumps.

The wicket did little to slow England, with Strauss and Prior motoring along to add a further 48 for the second wicket.

Strauss (65 balls, four fours) eventually fell to a smart stumping from Ramdin. The off-balanced batsman lingered out of his crease after being beaten by Benn.

By now, Prior was already into his stride and Shah played with casual assurance as the pair took the game away from the West Indies.

By the time they were separated, when Shah holed out to deep midwicket after hitting four fours and two sixes, England was well in the ascendancy at 278 for three with six overs remaining.

Big-hitter Dimitri Mascarenhas departed first ball and Prior fell short of a maiden century but birthday boy Paul Collingwood rallied the lower order.

Collingwood, now 33, struck two fours and a six in 23 off 14 balls.

Gayle, the West Indies’ main hope in the improbable victory pursuit, blasted two early fours off Broad before the bowler gained revenge. The Jamaican left-hander tried to pull but only managed a limp scoop to mid-on.

Sarwan began with two boundaries before he, too, was sent on his way by Anderson and a fine one-handed catch by Strauss at extra cover.

Runako Morton, as is his manner, never looked totally convincing but compiled 21 off 37 balls before a careless run out further handicapped his team.

Morton, seeking a second run, was sent back late by Chanderpaul, but dallied and was inches short when Collingwood’s throw came in.

Bravo batted as fluently as most of the England players in an attractive 26 off 22 balls. He twice lifted Mascarenhas for sixes and added two fours before he was LBW to Bresnan at 99 for four.

Chanderpaul and Ramdin could afford to take few chances and their stand rebuilt the innings even as the run rate mounted.

They took their Batting Powerplay at 174 for four off 37 overs in a last-gasp effort to reach the target way in the distance.

Both batsmen fell in consecutive overs to seal the result.

Chanderpaul swatted Broad to midwicket while Ramdin edged a slower off-cutter from Anderson to wicket-keeper Prior.

The lower order enjoyed some carefree batting and Benn racked up his career-best in 31 off 29 balls.

But by then, England’s victory was never in doubt.

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