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Morgan inspires England win

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 04-03-2017 skysports.com

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A century from captain Eoin Morgan helped England to a 45-run victory in the first ODI against the West Indies in Antigua. 

After a steady start, Morgan went through to his 10th ODI ton as England accelerated late in the innings to post 296-6 from their 50 overs, Sam Billings (52) and Ben Stokes (55) also making half-centuries.

Fifties from Jason Mohammed (72) and Jonathan Carter (52) gave the hosts hope in reply but, ultimately, they came up short, Chris Woakes (4-47) and Liam Plunkett (4-40) each taking four wickets as the West Indies were bowled out for 251.

With the start delayed due to rain, and having been put in, the England batsmen found the going tough early on with plenty of bounce and movement for the West Indian seamers.

Shannon Gabriel (2-58) made the initial breakthrough, trapping Jason Roy (13) lbw with a delivery that stayed low, and a very similar delivery earned him a second, Joe Root bowled for four.

Soon afterwards, Carlos Brathwaite, the scourge of England in last year's World T20 final, almost made an immediate impact as Morgan nicked his first ball, only for Kieran Powell to shell the catch at first slip.

It would prove costly as the England skipper went on to anchor the tourists' innings expertly. Having initially played second fiddle to Billings, Morgan took charge following the opener's dismissal; Billings falling to Ashley Nurse shortly after going to his second ODI fifty.

Nurse (2-57) also removed Jos Buttler (14) courtesy of a superb one-handed grab by Carter at slip but Morgan and Stokes dug in to prevent a collapse and guide England into the last 10 overs, four down.

A pair of sixes, one each, off Gabriel in the 44th over brought up the 100 partnership, Stokes (55) going through to fifty before holing out in the next over to hand the wayward Devendra Bishoo (1-49) his only wicket.

Morgan battled on though and went through to three figures with a six over wide long on in the 48th over as England pushed on in the closing stages, Moeen Ali making an unbeaten 31 (from 22 balls) in a useful cameo.

Morgan (107) was unable to see the innings through though as he was run out in the final over, backing up at the non-strikers' end - a dismissal reminiscent of that which followed his previous ODI century in India.

Unlike that occasion though, Morgan's latest century came in a winning cause as, after a solid start, the West Indies lost three wickets in as many overs, falling to 39-3 in the 12th.

Evin Lewis (21) was the first to go, caught by Billings in the deep, Woakes the bowler.

Plunkett then had Powell (1) caught off a leading edge, Roy making no mistake with the catch at point before another Woakes bouncer accounted for Kraigg Brathwaite (14), Adil Rashid getting round well from mid-on to take the chance.

Shai Hope (31) and Mohammed led the recovery, putting on 69 for the fourth wicket before the former contrived to slice a short, wide delivery from Rashid to Steven Finn, diving forward at backward point.

At that point, England looked to be in complete control, only for a superb fifth-wicket stand of 82 between Mohammed and Carter, both of whom cruised past 50, to bring the hosts right back into it.

It took another banged-in delivery - and a brilliant catch in the deep - to break the partnership, Carter mistiming a pull off Plunkett, allowing Roy to come storming in from the boundary to dive and make the grab.

Plunkett had his third as Jason Holder (4) feathered one through to Buttler and Mohammed's resistance came to an end in the next over as Finn showed off his football skills to run him out as the batsman attempted to dash through for a single.

Woakes then ensured there would be no repeat of Brathwaite's World T20 final heroics, having the all-rounder (12) caught, Root taking a skier at extra cover.

Nurse (21) ensured England were not able to relax too soon with a couple of lusty blows before he was dismissed, lbw, by Woakes and it was left to Plunkett to finish the job in the 48th over, Gabriel (0) caught behind down the legside as the ball looped up off his glove.

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