England chalked up its first victory in the Digicel 2009 series against  West Indies when they won yesterday’s opening encounter  by one run on the Duckworth/Lewis system at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.

PAUL’S THE MAN! Man of the match Paul Collingwood on the go during his attractive half century.
PAUL’S THE MAN! Man of the match Paul Collingwood on the go during his attractive half century.

Replying to their opponents 270-7 from their 50 overs, of which Man-of-the-Match Paul Collingwood (69) and Owais Shah (62) were the principal scorers, the West Indies accepted an offer for bad light from the umpires  at 17:41hrs, with their score showing 244-7 from 46.2 overs.

Lendl Simons (62), Ramnaresh Sarwan (57), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (46) and Kieron Pollard (42) were the principal scorers in the West Indies innings, but it was all in vain, as the visitors took their first win.

GOLDEN RUN! Ramnaresh Sarwan’s golden run continued yesterday with yet another half century.
GOLDEN RUN! Ramnaresh Sarwan’s golden run continued yesterday with yet another half century.

Needing to score at 5.42 runs per over to achieve victory, West Indies began their reply shakily, losing skipper Christopher Gayle who was out lbw to James Anderson for two in the third over of their innings with the score on six.

The in form Sarwan joined Simmons and was at the other end when the Trinidad and Tobago right handed opener, who plundered 282 against the Englishmen in their first match on this tour, turned James Anderson off his legs to fine leg for four.

CAMEO SHIV! Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the world’s best batsman treated fans to a cameo knock which included 26 runs fron one over. (Aubrey Crawford photos)
CAMEO SHIV! Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the world’s best batsman treated fans to a cameo knock which included 26 runs fron one over. (Aubrey Crawford photos)

The two continued to blast the English bowlers to all parts of the Providence venue, with Simmons hitting Steve Harmison over mid wicket for four  while Sarwan struck broad for two fours through cover and mid wicket respectively as West Indies moved to 54-1 in the 10th over.

The West Indies 100 was posted in the 26th over while Simmons, who struck Gareth Batty back over his head for six, followed by a four over mid off, reached his first ODI half century from 90 balls, with three fours and one six.

At the other end Sarwan, who entered the scene to rapturous applause, reached his 31st half century from 70 balls, hitting five fours before he was caught by Strauss at midwicket off Collingwood for 57 at 131-2, bringing an end to a 125-run, second wicket partnership from 28.2 overs.

Chanderpaul entered the fray to a standing ovation and immediately showed how he became the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) number one batsman when he turned Collingwood to fine leg for four off his first delivery.

Chanderpaul added 21 with Simmons, before the latter was caught by Anderson at midwicket off Batty for 62, which was decorated with five fours and one six.

his dismissal opened the way for Chanderpaul to put on a show for his home crowd and he did not disappoint.

The boundaries flowed off his bat like water through a burst pipe in the streets of Georgetown and one over from Harmison, the 40th of the West Indies’ innings and second of their batting power plays, gave the crowd lots to cheer about.

It cost the Englishmen 26 runs as Harmison was dispatched for 4, 6, 4, 4, 4, 4, as West Indies raced to 209-3, before Chanderpaul was caught by Strauss at forward square leg off broad for an entertaining 46 from 29 balls, decorated with six fours and one six.

Dwayne Bravo (01) was caught by Ravi Bopara off Anderson and from a position of 131-2, the West Indies were 213-4 in the 43rd over.

They  needed 58 runs from seven overs when  Dinesh Ramdin joined his countryman Pollard at the wicket.

Pollard, who had earlier struck two sixes during his 60-run partnership with Chanderpaul, was dropped by Harmison at long on off Batty when on 31, with West Indies 228-5 in the 43rd over, and to add insult to injury, the ball went into the boundary for four.

The burly Trinidadian drove Anderson through the covers for four, before he hooked the next delivery down to deep midwicket where Harmison made amends for his early blunders by taking the catch at 242-6 in the 46th over.

Pollard’s 42 came from 36 balls with three fours and two sixes and with dark clouds hovering over the venue, Ramdin went lbw to Broad for 11, with West Indies 244-7 and one run behind the par score on the Duckworth/Lewis system.

Surprisingly to all in the venue, bad light was offered to the new batsmen Darren Sammy and Nikita Miller who on the advice of their coach accepted, thus handing England a victory, their first on the tour by one run on the Duckworth/Lewis system.

Earlier, having won the toss and opting to bat first on a slow graveyard type of wicket, England progressed to 28 from seven overs, before they lost skipper Strauss (15; 1×4), who was caught by Bravo at point off Darren Powell.

His opening partner Bopara and Kevin Pietersen shared a 36-run, second wicket partnership from 6.1 overs, with Pietersen, who made 17 off 20 deliveries, hitting Bravo back over his head for six before  succumbing to the next delivery, caught by Powell at mid on.

Bopara continued to wage his personal battle with the bowling,  striking four fours in his 61-ball, 43, including a flick to fine leg off the fiery Fidel Edwards, followed by a magnificent drive off the front foot through the cover area in Powell’s next over.

But when in sight for his 10th limited overs half century, he was deceived by a Nikita Miller delivery which was pitched on middle and leg stump and was adjudged lbw for a fighting 43 made off 61 deliveries.

The 100 was posted from 19.3 overs and 91 minutes of batting whilst Owais Shah, who had joined Bopara at the fall of Pietersen’s wicket, reached his 10th ODI fifty, from 67 deliveries with  four fours, as England moved to 175-3 in the 35th over.

When the rains came at 12:01hrs, England were 190-3 from 37 overs, with Shah on 52 (four fours) and Collingwood 42, the pair adding  73 runs for the fourth wicket at that stage.

Play resumed at 12:45hrs in brilliant sunshine after the rain abated and England moved  to 206-3 from 40 overs, with Shah steering Gayle down to a wide third man position for four, whilst Collingwood posted his 21st half century with a single to mid off.

He had faced 58 deliveries and struck four fours, but more importantly for England the partnership was  worth  95 runs from 18 overs.

In his attempt to score quickly in the final power play taken at the start of the 40th over, Shah got a top edge through to wicketkeeper Dinesh Ramdin who accepted the offer and brought an end to a 98 runs fourth wicket partnership.

He made 62 from 86 balls with five fours. But he may not have finished  unstrapping his pads when new batsman Dimitri Mascarenhas was adjudged lbw to a Pollard delivery which kept low, hitting him below the knee roll without scoring, to leave England on 216-5 in the 43rd over.

Collingwood struck Bravo through midwicket for four to move to 62, but had to hurry back for his second run, beating a strong throw from Simmons at wide mid on in the process, as the Windies only conceded 17 runs, but took two wickets inside the final power play.

Collingwood lost his wicket in Pollard’s next over, courtesy of a spectacular diving catch from Bravo on the mid wicket boundary, as the batsman who had compiled 69 runs from 77 deliveries including six fours, attempted to hit the bowler out of the ground, leaving England on 243-6 in the 47th over.

Wicketkeeper Matt Prior fought fire with fire by hitting Bravo for successive boundaries over mid on and backward square leg while the bowler missed all three stumps, in his attempt to run out Stuart Broad who was attempting a suicidal single after Prior dug out a Yorker length delivery.

With two overs remaining and for wickets in hand with a scoreboard reading 256-6, the visitors went on the hunt for quick runs, knowing that a batting lineup which consisted of Gayle, Sarwan, Chanderpaul and Bravo can get to anything under 300 on the slow wicket.

But they could only get to 270-7 with Prior and Gareth Batty being the not out batsmen on 26 and 2 respectively, losing the wicket of Broad who was run out by Bravo in the 49th over.

Pollard (2-46) and Bravo (2-65) were the successful bowlers for the West Indies, who managed to pull off an easy victory at their turn at the wicket to take a 1-0 lead going into tomorrow’s encounter at the same venue.