ST. LUCIA, March 3: Oshane Thomas and Chris Gayle starred as the West Indies thrashed England by seven wickets in the fifth and final One-day International in St. Lucia on Saturday to square the series 2-2.
Thomas claimed five for 21 with the top-ranked tourists being demolished for 113 off 28.1 overs � their lowest-ever total in an ODI against the Caribbean side � just three days after scoring 418 in the fourth match in Grenada.
Gayle signed off on his ODI career in the region with a blistering 77 off just 27 balls to catapult his side to victory with almost 38 overs to spare in reaching 115 for three off 12.1 overs.
The 39-year-old was the obvious choice for the Man-of-the-Series award given his utter dominance with the bat in every innings of the four matches, scoring 424 runs at an average of 106, with 39 sixes.
�At one stage, I thought this is going to be my last (ODI) innings in the Caribbean for the West Indies, so I thought I�d go out on a high,� said Gayle. �We�ll get a bit of respect going into the World Cup.�
When Shimron Hetmyer struck the winning boundary at the start of the 13th over, it meant the West Indies had shared a series with the side considered favourites to lift the World Cup in England and Wales in three months� time, belying their lowly ranking of ninth and the fact they had scraped through World Cup qualifying a year earlier in Zimbabwe.
Playing just his ninth ODI, Thomas destroyed the visitors� vaunted batting line-up with career-best figures, despite coming on as the fourth bowler in the line-up.
Carlos Brathwaite and captain Jason Holder took two wickets each in support of the burly fast bowler to fully justify Holder�s decision to bowl first on winning the toss.
In a must-win situation after losing a high-scoring fourth game, the West Indies pace attack exploited a bouncy pitch and exposed the England batsmen�s technical shortcomings in these conditions.
Alex Hales and Jos Buttler were the top-scorers, each scoring only 23. Captain Eoin Morgan was next best with 18 as the batting folded swiftly in the face of Thomas� assault.
�We struggled to adapt to the extra bounce, it�s not something that we�re accustomed to,� said Morgan. �It�s difficult to curb what has been our natural reaction (to batting). We need to find a way to occupy the crease and score runs.�
England: JM Bairstow b Cottrell 11, AD Hales c Hope b Brathwaite 23, JE Root c Cottrell b Holder 1, EJG Morgan c Cottrell b Thomas 18, BA Stokes c Hope b Brathwaite 15, JC Buttler c Cottrell b Thomas 23, MM Ali c Hope b Thomas 12, CR Woakes c Brathwaite b Thomas 0, TK Curran b Thomas 0, AU Rashid c Hope b Holder 0, MA Wood not out 0. Extras: (nb 1, w 9) 10. Total: (All out in 28.1 overs) 113. Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-18, 3-57, 4-63, 5-88, 6-111, 7-111, 8-113, 9-113, 10-113. Bowling: SS Cottrell 4-0-23-1, JO Holder 7-2-28-2, CR Brathwaite 8-1-17-2, O Thomas 5.1-0-21-5, AR Nurse 4-0-24-0.
West Indies: CH Gayle b Wood 77, JD Campbell b Wood 1, SD Hope b Woakes 13, DM Bravo not out 7, SO Hetmyer not out 11. Extras: (nb 1, w 5) 6. Total: (For 3 wickets in 12.1 overs) 115. Fall of wickets: 1-40, 2-93, 3-95. Bowling: CR Woakes 6-0-56-1, MA Wood 6-0-55-2, TK Curran 0.1-0-4-0. � Agencies