NOTTINGHAM, England – Seamer Kesrick Williams has underscored the importance of taking England out of their natural game as West Indies look to square the five-match series in the second One-Day International at Trent Bridge tomorrow morning.
The Windies under-performed in all departments in Tuesday’s opening game at Old Trafford, crashing to a seven-wicket defeat to fall behind 1-0, and leaving themselves with a mountain to climb to get back into the series.
Their 204 batting first proved inadequate and England chased down the total with nearly 11 of their allotted 42 overs still available.
Williams said the hosts had been disciplined in their approach, rotating the strike brilliantly and cutting out the big strokes, and stressed this was the area the Windies needed to address.
“In the last game, I think we kind of bowled well as a bowling team but there weren’t enough runs on the board,” Williams said today.
“[There isn’t a team that won’t] be under pressure with [204 to defend] especially with world class players that pick gaps and find gaps easily like Joe Root and (Jonny) Bairstow coming in at the top this time, and they really rotated the strike well.
“If you realise they didn’t hit as much boundaries as they probably anticipated – a lot of singles were run and that’s where they killed us.”
He continued: “If you can block up these areas where these guys get their singles, I think we can do well. We are not bowling much of the boundary balls but what we can try to do is block off the singles and try to make them go over the top because they are not boundary-hitters.
“If we can try to make them do more of that I think we can be in the game.”
Bairstow struck exactly 100 not out off 97 balls – his maiden ODI hundred – while Root carved out a busy 54, in a 125-run second wicket stand which took the game away from the Caribbean side.
Neither batsmen struck a single six but the partnership came at a fair clip, off only 116 deliveries.
Williams finished with two wickets but his six overs proved expensive, costing 50 runs as the Windies attack proved ineffective in the English conditions.
The 27-year-old rookie, who only made his ODI debut four months ago, said a more disciplined and consistent bowling approach from West Indies would pay dividends, especially on the softer surfaces.
“With the wickets that we are playing on here which is a lot different to the Caribbean wickets, it’s very important that we stick to the basics, be patient, set the field accordingly, bowl to one side of the wicket, get certain fielders in the right positions and that will help us a long way,” the Vincentian pointed out.
“We have to stick to one area and be really, really disciplined because we are not playing against guys in a regional tournament. You’re playing against professional players, players that don’t have much weaknesses – there are not a lot of weaknesses to prey on.”
He continued: “So we have to stick to the basics, be positive and execute when we have the chance to execute. That is the main thing we have to do as a team going into this second game.”
Although England were not tested much, they looked in decent form at Old Trafford. Their bowlers did well to halt Windies’ initial charge and then strangle their middle-order which lost momentum with Marlon Samuels eating up scoreless deliveries. And the fielding was largely first-rate. Bairstow’s maiden ODI hundred has solved their opening conundrum following Jason Roy’s poor run of form.
While West Indies contemplate their starting XI, England are unlikely to tinker with their team and any changes might come if they secure the series early and rest the likes of Root and Ben Stokes with the Ashes tour on the horizon.
England have happy recent memories at Trent Bridge. Last summer, they scored a world record 444-3 there against Pakistan with Alex Hales making 171, the highest ever one-day score for England, and they have won five of the last eight ODIs at the ground. The Windies have fond memories of their own. The last time they were here in 2007 they beat England by 93 runs.
The defeat at Old Trafford confirmed the Windies fate of having to go through a 10-team qualifying tournament next year involving ICC affiliates, in order to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in England.
Only the hosts, along with the remaining top-seven teams in the ICC rankings by September 30, gained direct qualification to the event.
West Indies are currently ninth in the rankings.
ENGLAND – Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes.
WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Jason Mohammed (vice-captain), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Miguel Cummins, Chris Gayle, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Kesrick Williams.