England openers make strong start
7:11pm Friday 28th February 2014 in © Press Association 2014
England's one-day international debutant openers Moeen Ali and Michael Lumb got the tourists off to a flying start in pursuit of 270 to win the first match of three against West Indies.
Stuart Broad's team appeared to face a challenging total, after home captain Dwayne Bravo had engineered a brilliant West Indies recovery from 45 for four in the 16th over to finish with 269 for six.
But Moeen, on his first international appearance, and veteran Twenty20 specialist Lumb responded with a very promising 82 without loss after 15 overs.
The Windies, put in at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, were spooked by early spin but finished with a flourish thanks to Bravo's century stands with Lendl Simmons (65) and then Darren Sammy (61).
Sammy's whirlwind 50 from only 33 deliveries contained five fours and four sixes as 116 runs were plundered in the last 10 overs, and Bravo finished unbeaten on a near run-a-ball 87.
England, anxious to get a 'new era' off to a winning start after Ashes misery and its significant aftermath this winter, made all the early running.
The experiment of opening the bowling with Joe Root worked a treat as the part-time off-spinner's first spell read 5-1-13-1.
James Tredwell was then a like-for-like but frontline replacement for Root at the pavilion end, and he too soon struck - as did first-change Tim Bresnan (three for 68).
Dwayne Smith hit Root for a towering six over long off in his second over, but otherwise the Windies could not get started.
Kieran Powell tried to drive Root on the up but fell to a brilliant, diving catch by Chris Jordan at short cover.
It took Tredwell only three deliveries to see off West Indies' other opener, Smith, edging on to his pad and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler scampering round to take another diving catch in the leg side.
Kirk Edwards did not convince and eventually missed an attempted drive at Bresnan and was bowled off-stump.
When Moeen turned one from round the wicket to make Darren Bravo his first international victim, lbw, the hosts appeared to be in danger of faltering permanently.
But their captain and Simmons had other ideas, in a crucial fifth-wicket partnership.
Dwayne Bravo took 36 balls to reach double figures, and Simmons' cut for four off Tredwell was the only boundary in almost 20 overs.
It was a period of necessary caution, but the powerplay brought 41 runs and the wicket of only Simmons - backing away against Bresnan to try to beat the off-side ring but managing only to loop a low catch into the wind.
If that was not a percentage shot, almost all of Bravo's were in a 74-ball 50 which contained just three fours.
As Broad restricted himself to only six overs, Jordan's line struggled badly in the cross-wind.
He ended up bowling an extra over in wides, and Root's ninth and final over cost 23 as some typically robust hitting from Sammy ensured England would have to bat very well to win after all.