‘Salt in the wounds’: Savage England pulverise West Indies to level series

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Phil Salt’s second successive century helped England hit their highest T20 international total in a chaotic 75-run win over West Indies to level the series.

Salt’s astonishing 119 – the highest score by an England men’s batter in the format – came from just 57 balls and included 10 sixes as the tourists finished with 267-3.

Captain Jos Buttler smashed 55 from 29 balls and Liam Livingstone added an unbeaten 54 from 21 at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad.

West Indies kept up with the imposing run-rate during their entertaining chasing effort, but regular wickets cost them, the hosts falling to 192 all out.

The hosts amassed 87 from the first six overs, but England held their nerve and fought back to break every dangerous partnership, with each bowler taking at least one wicket.

All-rounder Andre Russell gave the hosts late hope with a dynamic 24-ball half-century before he was the last batter to be dismissed in the 16th over by Reece Topley, who claimed 3-37.

England have come from 2-0 down to level the series at 2-2, with the decider taking place at the same venue on Thursday.

England’s record innings in numbers

  • England’s 267-3 surpasses their previous record in men’s T20 internationals of 241-3 against New Zealand in Napier in 2019
  • It is the fifth highest total in all men’s T20 internationals
  • Salt’s 119 took him past Alex Hales’ 116 not out against Sri Lanka at Chattogram in 2014 for the highest score by an England men’s batter in T20 internationals
  • Salt is the first England men’s batter to hit two T20 international centuries. Danni Wyatt has done so for England’s women
  • Salt is the third men’s batter to hit back-to-back T20 international centuries after Gustav McKeon (France) and Rilee Rossouw (South Africa)
  • He hit 10 sixes in his knock – the most by an England batter in a T20 international innings
England’s 267-3 surpassed their previous record in men’s T20 internationals of 241-3 against New Zealand in Napier in 2019 (Photo: Getty Images)

Salt leads England’s batting carnage

On the same day Salt went unsold in the mini-auction for next year’s Indian Premier League, he subjected West Indies’ weary bowlers to another brutal onslaught.

A depleted bowling line-up, with attack leader Alzarri Joseph resting for the final two matches of the series, had no answers to the opener’s power as he launched anything full down the ground, was quick to pull short balls and scored freely against spin and pace on a flat pitch.

Salt added 117 in just 9.5 overs with Buttler, bettering the 115 they hit together in Saturday’s third T20 for the fifth highest opening stand for England’s men in this format.

Buttler’s 26-ball half-century went somewhat under the radar compared Salt’s brilliance but a second straight fifty for the captain provides England with a welcome boost after his disappointing World Cup showing.

Salt was not fazed when Buttler picked out out long-on, putting on stands of 56 from 23 balls with Will Jacks and 73 from just 29 deliveries with Livingstone.

The batting performance, alongside their successful chase of 223 in the third T20, was so dominant that England’s recent white-ball woes seem scarcely believable, with the confidence of Salt and Buttler oozing into each new batter who was able to strike with conviction from their first ball.

West Indies’ bowlers, who lacked the consistency and pace of Joseph, were guilty of bowling too straight and into the batters’ arc, with T20 debutant Matthew Forde conceding 54 from three wicketless overs.

Spinner Akeal Hosein’s 1-36 was a rare bright spark, as he and Kyle Mayers – who strangely only bowled one over – were the only two to concede fewer than 10 runs per over.

Sherfane Rutherford struck 36 off 15 (Photo: Getty Images)

Bowlers hold nerve against Windies power

West Indies’ chase promised to be almost as eventful as England’s from the moment opener Brandon King slashed the first ball of the innings to short third off Moeen Ali.

Chasing such a big total gave their powerful line-up plenty of freedom but while each cameo was entertaining, especially Nicholas Pooran’s 39 and Sherfane Rutherford’s 36, both off 15 balls, they were unable to keep the momentum going in the same ruthless manner of Salt.

Russell struck five enormous sixes in his trademark style but coming in at 106-5 required a feat beyond even his abilities.

England were disciplined, with Buttler leading from mid-off as Salt instead kept wicket, and did not panic when the boundaries were flying, with Sam Curran taking 2-25 and teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed claiming two in two balls, despite also conceding 42 from three overs.

With the series decider taking place at the same ground, few would bet against another high-scoring thriller, with England having a chance to avenge the 2-1 ODI series defeat earlier this month. (BBC Sport)

 

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