Windies’ batsmen let down Edwards (1st ODI)

LONDON, England – Fidel Edwards’ second-best bowling performance in a One-day International came to nothing, when another inexplicable batting collapse condemned West Indies to a 79-run defeat in the first ODI against England on Sunday.

Chasing 226 to win from their allocation of 50 overs on a hard, true Lord’s pitch in fair weather, West Indies were dismissed for 146 in 39.5 overs.

Edwards had bowled with controlled aggression to snare five wickets for 45 runs from his allotment of 10 overs to put West Indies in the favourable position.

It was Edwards’ second haul of five wickets or more in an ODI, following his six for 22 on debut against Zimbabwe at Harare. His performance earned him the Man-of-the-Match award.

But the visitors’ batsmen again flushed his hard work down the tube, and the fast bowler suffered further indignity, when he was run out going for a second run – in a mix-up with Shivnarine Chanderpaul – to formalise the result which gives England a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Left-hander Chanderpaul was again the standard-bearer for West Indies with the bat, as he grafted his way to a top score of 53 not out from 100 balls.

Dwayne Bravo made 29 off 34 balls and Ravi Rampaul got 24 off 43 balls, as they were the only other West Indies batsmen that came close to matching Chanderpaul’s effort.

It was Edwards that had exerted himself in keeping a lid on the England scoring, after the home team looked on course to set a more challenging total.

In between Edwards’ demolition, Ian Bell led the way for England with 56, and a few other batsmen got starts, but failed to carry on – Owais Shah making 42, Matt Prior getting 34, and Kevin Pietersen 33.

West Indies then plunged to 13 for four in the sixth over from a combination of their own carelessness, and purposeful cricket from their opponents.

The wretched form of Chris Gayle continued, when the West Indies captain was caught at long leg for six off Liam Plunkett in the fourth over.

The wickets of Runako Morton – bowled between bat and pad for an eight-ball duck – and Marlon Samuels – caught behind for a first-ball duck gloving a short ball that past waist high – off successive deliveries in the next over bowled by James Anderson put the wobbles on the West Indies innings.

The knife was put in the visitors’ batting, when Devon Smith too, failed to beat Anderson’s return to the ‘keeper from the deep and was run out for four in the sixth over.

A stand of 61 for the fifth wicket between Chanderpaul and Bravo revived West Indies, but Stuart Broad struck twice in the 17th over to slay any hopes of a West Indies fightback.

Bravo was caught behind playing defensively at a well-pitched delivery that moved away outside the off-stump, and Denesh Ramdin was bowled playing back to a delivery that cut into him from the same line.

Dwayne Smith and Daren Powell paid brief visits to the crease before Rampaul came and defied the England attack to add 35 that brought some respectability to the West Indies innings before he was caught at mid-off off Plunkett.

Broad was England’s most successful bowler with three for 20 from nine overs, Anderson supported with two for 23 from eight overs, and Plunkett took two for 38 from his 10 overs.

Earlier, Edwards had made the breakthrough when he had Alastair Cook caught at fine leg for 29.

The fast bowler then returned “at the death” to remove England captain Paul Collingwood for five, Dmitri Mascarenhas for two, Liam Plunkett for four, and Stuart Broad for zero, as England lost their last six wickets for 39 runs in the space of 36 balls.

The second match of the series will be contested at Birmingham on Wednesday, and the third and final game at Nottingham on Friday.

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