ODI: Bairstow’s hundred floors West Indies at Old Trafford
Jonny Bairstow hit his maiden one-day international century as England swept West Indies aside to win the first ODI at Old Trafford by seven wickets.
Bairstow, opening the batting, made 100 not out to lead England to their target of 205 with more than 11 overs left. The game had earlier been reduced to 42 overs a side because of a wet outfield.
Chris Gayle, returning to West Indies’ ODI team, pummelled a 27-ball 37, but after he fell the tourists needed Jason Holder’s 41 not out to reach 204-9. That never seemed likely to be enough and the margin of victory did not flatter an England team who were superior with the ball, in the field and between the wickets.
With this defeat, the Windies, ninth in the International Cricket Council’s ODI rankings can no longer automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup and must enter a qualifying tournament in 2018. The second game in the five-match series is at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
Though Bairstow averaged 56.4 in his seven previous ODIs, he had to make do with a bit-part role in a settled England side.
However, the Test wicketkeeper replaced out-of-form opener Jason Roy for the Champions Trophy semi-final defeat by Pakistan in June – England’s last 50-over contest – and seized his opportunity when he was retained in Manchester.
Without the gloves – Jos Buttler remains England’s white-ball keeper – Bairstow had already taken an excellent catch at deep square leg off Ben Stokes to dismiss Shai Hope before he shared a stand of 125 with Joe Root.
With West Indies often bowling too short, Bairstow was strong square of the wicket, cutting to point and heaving the ball into the leg side, as well as playing handsome drives and sweeping the spinners.
His running with Yorkshire team-mate Root was particularly impressive – their speed and understanding ensured that the scoreboard was constantly ticking over.
Though Root played on to his stumps for 54 and captain Eoin Morgan was caught behind – both off pace bowler Kesrick Williams – Bairstow reached a 97-ball century by driving the off-spin of Ashley Nurse through cover for three.
He celebrated with a leap into the air and, later the same over, Stokes completed victory with a straight six.
Despite bright sunshine, a sodden outfield raised the prospect of the Old Trafford crowd being denied the opportunity of being entertained by Gayle, who was playing in his first ODI for more than two years.
When play finally got under way two hours late, Gayle was dropped by Root at second slip off Chris Woakes from only the third ball of the innings but then climbed into Woakes and new-ball partner David Willey.
Targeting mid-on, the left-hander clubbed three sixes before miscuing Woakes to be well held by Root, who was running back from extra cover.
From there, West Indies struggled to build momentum and lost regular wickets in the middle overs to some disciplined England bowling, with Stokes (3-43) and Adil Rashid (2-31) impressive.
The tourists slipped from 149-4 to 187-8 and needed captain Holder to drag them towards respectability – it was he who hit all five of their boundaries in the final 10 overs of the innings.
Stokes was wayward in a final over in which West Indies added 15 to limp past 200, but Bairstow showed that total to be sub-standard. (BBC Sport)