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Cricket news - England take series lead in Grenada run-fest

Adil Rashid finished with a five-wicket haul, picking up four wickets in the last five balls of the innings.

On a day when over 800 runs were scored, over 500 just in boundaries, at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada, England came out victorious to take a 2-1 lead after spectacular centuries from Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan. It was a wicket full of runs, and there were as many as three centurions on Wednesday (February 27), with Chris Gayle joining the English pair with one of his finest One-Day International innings. With over eight an over required from the onset, his brilliant onslaught of a 97-ball 162 kept Windies ahead in the chase. But once he fell, they fell behind the required rate, and were eventually bowled out for 389, falling short by 29 in the chase of 419 with Adil Rashid picking up five. It was, however, Windies' highest-ever ODI total.

Mark Wood continued to deliver for England with a four-wicket haul. He pegged Windies back early on sending back John Campbell and Shai Hope early as Gayle battled on to kept Windies in the chase. Gayle took on the bowlers from the onset and raced away to a 32-ball half-century. He smashed his 500th international six - the first batsman to reach the landmark - en route his 55-ball century, his second in the series, also surpassing the landmark of 10,000 ODI runs, only the second West Indian after Brian Lara. The stand of 176 between him and Darren Bravo had Windies scoring at a rate better than the required rate at that point.

Bravo scored a sedate fifty while keeping Gayle company, but fell soon after for 61. Shimron Hetmyer was expected to have a huge role to play in the middle if Windies were to stand a chance of chasing the target down, but on the night, he smashed a six off the first ball and holed out to the second. Skipper Jason Holder kept Gayle company, playing second fiddle to perfection, in their 69-run association as Gayle crossed the 150-run mark. He, however, was bowled by Ben Stokes after giving himself room and missing, who struck in a fresh spell as England roared back into the game, with Windies still needing 124 in 95 balls at that stage. Gayle's innings comprised of 14 sixes and 11 fours.

Holder was stumped as Windies slipped, but were revived by Carlos Brathwaite and Ashley Nurse, who started slowly, but accelerated gradually to reduce the equation to 38 runs required off the last four overs. Brathwaite reached his maiden ODI fifty in the 88-run stand, but both batsmen fell in successive balls in the 48th to Adil Rashid for 43 and 50 respectively, with 30 required off 15 balls. England held their nerve in the end to pull off a hard-fought win with Morgan backing Rashid, bringing him on to bowl at a crucial stage in the game, and his legspinner delivering with a five-wicket haul, with four wickets coming in the final five balls in a contest closer than England would've thought.

Buttler and Morgan led the way earlier with a stellar 204-run stand off 149 balls for the fourth wicket which was the highest-ever for that position in West Indies against the home side in a display of tremendous hitting from the pair as England broke the record for the maximum number of sixes in an innings in one-day cricket with 24. There were as many as three half-centurions, two centurions, one century stand, and a double en route in England's clinical innings. Buttler played the lead role, finishing with 150 off just 77 balls before falling in the final over as England belted as many as 154 runs in the last ten overs in what seemed like a highlights reel. Buttler, after getting to his half-century off 45 balls, got his next 100 runs in just 32 balls in what was one of his finest ODI knock - one which he finished with 13 fours and 12 sixes.

It was only the fifth time that four of England's top five had fifty-plus scores against their name. After a solid start at the top, Morgan and Buttler put on a show of clean hitting, as Windies' bowlers were left clueless, with all of them being taken to the ropes as the pair scored 21 fours and 18 sixes together. Morgan first upped the ante after his half-century, but Buttler took it to a different level soon after, taking on the role of the aggressor as the pair switched roles. Morgan reached his century with a six, but fell soon after holing out to long on. But by then the damage was done.

Oshane Thomas struck twice up front to get Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root, but only after Alex Hales, in his return game, gave England a solid start with a quickfire century stand with Bairstow to boost their momentum. Bairstow, on a wicket that offered plenty for the batsmen, went after Devendra Bishoo striking three sixes in an over to bring up his half-century. Lack of strike and quiet overs frustrated him to chop on soon after for 56.

Hales carried on, but fell for a 73-ball 82 after Hetmyer took a spectacular catch at the boundary. But that was the last break Windies got before witnessing carnage in the middle. It was the fourth time that England surpassed the 400-run mark in ODIs.

Brief scores: England 418/6 in 50 overs (Alex Hales 82, Jonny Bairstow 56, Eoin Morgan 103, Jos Buttler 150; Carlos Brathwaite 2-69) beat Windies (Chris Gayle 162, Darren Bravo 61, Carlos Brathwaite 50, Ashley Nurse 43; Mark Wood 4-60, Adil Rashid 5-85, Mark Wood 4-60) by 29 runs.

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