LONDON – Evin Lewis’s sublime career-best hundred and Alzarri Joseph’s maiden five-wicket haul both proved in vain as West Indies slipped to a six-run defeat under Duckworth/Lewis in the fourth One-Day International, to concede the five-match series to England today.
Chasing a difficult 357 for victory at the Oval following Lewis’s 176, England were 258 for five in the 36th over – ahead of the D/L par score of 252 – when the adverse weather drove players from the field at 7:35 pm (2:35 Eastern Caribbean time).
With the drizzles persisting, officials called off play at 8:10 p.m., leaving a disappointed West Indies with their sixth straight ODI series defeat to England and without a tour victory over a higher-ranked side in five years.
This statistic seemed destined to change when the Caribbean side romped to 356 for five off their 50 overs – their fourth-highest total in ODIs and highest-ever against England.
The charge was led by Lewis while captain Jason Holder lashed a career-best 77, Jason Mohammed struck 46 and Rovman Powell, a cameo unbeaten 28 at the end.
England seemed on course to complete their highest-ever successful run chase when opener Jason Roy stroked a top score of 84 in an opening stand of 126 with Jonny Bairstow who made 39.
But fast bowler Joseph intervened with an outstanding spell to claim five for 56 to haul West Indies back into the contest by reducing England to 181 for five in the 28th over.
However, Moeen Ali proved the Windies tormentor again, hammering an unbeaten 48 in a 77-run sixth wicket stand with Jos Buttler who made 43 not out, to get England ahead of the required rate with rain looming in the distance.
England now lead the series 3-0 with the final match of the series carded for the Ageas Bowl on Friday.
Sent in, the innings belonged to Lewis as he dominated England’s bowlers before finally being stretchered off in the 47th over after driving a full-length delivery from pacer Jake Ball into his ankle.
He lost talismanic partner Chris Gayle for two to the fourth ball of the innings, the veteran left-hander edging seamer Chris Woakes to Joe Root at first slip with two runs on the board.
Lewis then watched as West Indies slid to 33 for three in the seventh over, losing Shai Hope (11) and the disappointing Marlon Samuels (1) cheaply.
The 25-year-old left-hander dug deep to produce an innings of class, stroking 17 fours and seven sixes off 130 deliveries, carving out the fourth-highest individual score by a West Indies batsman in ODIs.
Significantly, he put on 117 for the fourth wicket with Mohammed who faced 71 balls and counted four boundaries before adding a further 168 with Holder in a record stand for the fifth wicket.
Lewis reached his half-century off 52 deliveries in the 20th over before accelerating to reach his second ODI century off 94 balls, when he swung Woakes to the fine leg boundary in the 35th over.
With his landmark safely behind him, Lewis launched a stunning assault, with a pair of sixes off pacer Liam Plunkett in the 40th over and nearly single-handedly smashing 25 off the 44th over from off-spinner Moeen Ali as he motored past 150.
He lost Mohammed in the 29th over caught at the wicket off Rashid but found an ally in Holder to reset the fifth wicket record for the Windies in ODIs.
Holder, dropped on three by opposite number Eoin Morgan at cover in the 30th over off Plunkett, blasted four fours and four sixes in a 62-ball cameo before perishing to the final ball of the innings.
When injury forced Lewis out with the charge on, Powell belted a pair of fours and sixes in a 15-ball knock as West Indies posted 131 runs off the last 10 overs.
Woakes was the best bowler with three for 71.
Roy then took the game away from the Windies early, in a 66-ball knock which contained 11 fours and two sixes, against bowling which lacked discipline.
With the game slipping away quickly, the visitors found a way back through Joseph, who at age 20, became the youngest West Indies bowler to take a five-wicket haul in ODIs.
In the third over of his spell, he had Roy caught at the wicket trying to run one down to third man in the 18th over and claimed Bairstow in identical fashion at 144 for two in the 22nd over.
England then lost their next three wickets for 37 runs as West Indies snatched the advantage but Moeen Ali once again proved their nemesis, belting six fours and two sixes off 25 balls in a brazen counter-attack. Then the rain did the rest.