England vs West Indies 2017: 1st ODI, 5 Talking Points
A brilliant hundred from skipper, Eoin Morgan, and fine bowling performances from Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett helped England to a 45-run win over West Indies in the first ODI at Antigua.
West Indies won the toss and chose to bowl on a sluggish wicket and Shannon Gabriel justified the choice almost immediately by sending back Jason Roy and Joe Root in quick succession. However, Billings and Morgan provided resistance as West Indies struggled to break through.
Morgan went on to complete his 10th ODI hundred with Ben Stokes giving him company, who made a fighting half-century, and Moeen Ali, who played a nice cameo.
With 297 to win, West Indies had their task cut out against Woakes and Plunkett who exploited the slowness of the track while bowling pacy bouncers as the odd delivery. Only Jonathan Carter and Jason Mohammed resisted in an 88-run stand with both scoring half-centuries. Once that stand was broken, West Indies barely challenged England.
Brief Scores: England 296/6 in 50 overs (Morgan 107, Stokes 55, Nurse 2/57) beat West Indies 251/10 in 47.2 overs (Mohammed 72, Plunkett 4/40, Woakes 4/47)
Have a glance at the talking points of the first ODI at Antigua.
#5 Billings flatters to deceive
Sam Billings would have known that he has limited opportunities to impress the England selectors, before Alex Hales, already back early from an injury, makes a return to the top of the order.
As though getting motivated from the news, Billings survived a hot spell from Shannon Gabriel early in the game to nurture a fine half-century. He had his skipper, Eoin Morgan for company, after Gabriel got the better of Jason Roy and Joe Root.
All of his seven boundaries had class written all over it but a creamy cover drive off Gabriel and a wristy flick off Brathwaite stood out as Billings raced a run a ball half-century. However, instead of making the chance count, the wicket-keeper batsman flicked Ashley Nurse straight to mid-wicket.