DUBLIN, Ireland, CMC – Left-hander John Campbell yesterday hailed the tenacity of himself and opening partner Shai Hope after they were forced to overcome a difficult start to post their world-record stand in the opening One-Day International of the Tri-Nations Series against Ireland.
Campbell lashed 179 – his maiden ODI hundred – while Hope carved out 170, as they posted a record 365 for the first wicket and the second highest partnership ever in ODIs.
“I think it was difficult to hit big shots right throughout,” Campbell said after West Indies completed an uncomplicated 196-run victory at Castle Avenue.
“I think both Shai and I we played really well. It was tough at the beginning. We really couldn’t get the ball away but both of us just said let’s hang in as long as possible to see how far we could get it because we knew that the guys coming in would have to start [again] and then that would take up a lot more balls so we just wanted to see how far we could take it.”
The 25-year-old Campbell, in only his sixth ODI, blasted 15 fours and half-dozen sixes off 137 balls while Hope stroked 22 fours and two sixes off 152 deliveries, en route to his fifth hundred in the format.
Scoring proved difficult initially, however, with a mere four boundaries coming in the first 11 overs as West Indies laboured to 42 without loss after being sent in.
Ironically, Campbell survived a life off the first ball of the contest when he sneaked a suicidal single to mid-off where the fielder’s throw missed at the non-striker’s end with the Jamaican short of his ground.
“I was just looking to get off the mark,” Campbell recounted.
“I was a little bit hesitant but thankfully [the fielder] missed and from there I was a lot more relaxed and I felt a lot better. Shai helped me along the way right throughout.”
He added: “Words can’t explain the way I feel right now, it’s been a long time coming. For the past few weeks, I’ve been putting in the hard work and I guess as they say I am reaping the success.”
When the partnership was finally broken in the 48th over, the pair were just seven runs shy from tying the highest-ever ODI stand set by Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels four years ago during the World Cup in Australia.
In reply, Ireland slumped to 185 all out in the 35th over with Kevin O’Brien top-scoring with 68 and Gary Wilson getting 30, the pair adding 131 for the fourth wicket to pull Ireland from 21 for three in the fifth over.
Veteran seamer Kemar Roach (2-28) knocked over both openers cheaply before off-spinner Ashley Nurse (4-51) and speedster Shannon Gabriel (3-44) ran through the middle and lower order.
“You couldn’t have asked for any better. I think we started the series really well. Getting wickets in the power-play is crucial and we did that – we got three in the power-play,” Campbell pointed out.
“When you lose wickets in the power-play it always sets you back and for us to get three wickets in the power-play, we were always on top.”
West Indies take on Bangladesh in the second match of the tournament today.