England fall short in T20 opener
9:43pm Sunday 9th March 2014 in © Press Association 2014
England faltered alarmingly to spin on the way to a 27-run defeat in the first Twenty20 international at Kensington Oval.
Samuel Badree's career-best three for 17 was the highlight of a collateral six for 46 in 10 overs from West Indies' spinners as England fell badly short.
Marlon Samuels hit an unbeaten 69 in the hosts' 170 for three, and for good measure then made his off-breaks count too in an England total of 143 for nine which could give little encouragement about their ability to deal with some of the wall-to-wall spin sure to come their way in Bangladesh at the ICC World Twenty20.
Number three Samuels took late advantage of being dropped by James Tredwell on 43, the off-spinner therefore spoiling much of his earlier good work.
England, who had selected only Tredwell as a spin option here, nonetheless appeared to have feasible prospects of a successful chase on a good pitch.
They made things especially hard for themselves, however, after Alex Hales and then Luke Wright were stumped from successive Badree deliveries to put the leg-spinner on an unlikely hat-trick.
Soon afterwards, Michael Lumb obligingly pulled Badree to deep square-leg, and Jos Buttler was equally compliant when he reverse-swept Sunil Narine straight to point to go for a duck.
It might have been even worse had Badree held on to a fierce straight-drive from Morgan.
Yet it made little difference - because with Narine off the field having hurt his knee sliding in the outfield, Samuels duly had Morgan well-held on the midwicket boundary.
Ben Stokes was the third England batsman to go stumped, to Samuels.
Despite some assured strokeplay from Ravi Bopara, West Indies captain Darren Sammy could even afford to put down a glaring chance at point - Tim Bresnan escaping on three off Ravi Rampaul - and still have plenty of leeway.
When Bopara mistimed a slower ball to be caught-and-bowled by Dwayne Bravo, following through into the leg-side, realistic hope was spent for England in only the 15th over - although Bresnan's career-best unbeaten 47 from number eight made some of the statistics a little less embarrassing.
After Sammy had won the toss, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith gave the Windies an ideal platform in an opening stand of 57 - but Tredwell's canny spell and Bopara's medium-pace kept England in the reckoning.
The home innings got off to a memorable, and ominous, start when Smith pulled Stuart Broad's very first ball on to the roof of the Greenidge & Haynes Stand.
There were three fours too in an opening over which cost 19, including a no-ball.
Jade Dernbach fared much better initially, finding early swing and beating Gayle with a beauty which almost bowled him for a second-ball duck.
Gayle appeared out of sorts, mustering just three runs from his first 11 balls, until he carved three fours in four deliveries off the previously accurate Bresnan.
It was Gayle who then brought up the 50 in the sixth over with a mighty six over long on off the expensive Stokes, before Bopara broke the stand when he hit the top of off-stump as Smith tried to shovel to leg.
Gayle remained a grave danger to England until, having conceded one big six to him, Tredwell had him lbw on the back foot.
After the off-spinner bowled 15 dot balls, and Bopara had a second wicket - Lendl Simmons caught at long on - England were restricting the hosts admirably.
Tredwell then dropped a searing chance at cover to reprieve Samuels - after which the number three hit five successive fours off the unfortunate bowler, Dernbach.
But the Surrey seamer recovered to concede only five runs in a skilful final over.
Despite Samuels' 10 fours and a six from 46 balls, England's bowlers had given the batsmen a chance they were unable to take.