Alastair Cook scored his third century in six matches to guide England toward a facile win over the West Indies. In a match marked by the return of Chris Gayle and his humongous sixes, the visitors could only set a modest target of 239, which the much-fancied English side achieved in 45 overs, losing just two wickets.
Playing his first match for his country since the World Cup, Gayle took some time to get into his stride. But once he got his bearings, he looked in imperious touch. His innings was studded with three fours and five sixes, including an over by Tim Bresnan that saw the ball go over the boundary three times. A controversial lbw decision got the better of him, and as always, the innings got dismantled under the pressure applied by the bowlers. Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, however, repaired the innings and looked to take their team to a challenging total with their partnership of 100 runs. Bravo made 77, while Pollard got 41. But the last five overs of the innings produced just 19 runs, as the visitors got restricted to a below-par score.
In reply, the English openers did not break a sweat, as they dispatched the bowlers with ease and disdain. Both Cook and Ian Bell dominated right from the start and had a partnership of 122 in 21.2 overs. Sunil Narine, who was expected to be the panacea for all that ails West Indian cricket, was not spared, either. The only two wickets to fall was of the openers, with Darren Sammy snaring both of them. Bell scored 53, while the captain got 112.
The win puts England firmly in charge of the series, and the Caribbean team seem to have no answers for the show of discipline by their opponents.