Saturday, April 4, 2009

ENGLAND VS WESTINDIES 5th ODI:Flintoff hat-trick seals historic series win

England ended their ragged tour of the West Indies on a high on Friday when an Andrew Flintoff hat-trick helped them beat the hosts by 26 runs in a rain-shortened match to win the one-day series 3-2. Flintoff took five for 19 in his five overs, including the hat-trick in his final over, as England claimed their first one-day series victory in the Caribbean. It was a well-deserved win on Friday as England bowled with accuracy and discipline after an earlier batting collapse meant they managed only 172 for five from their allotted 29 overs."It has been a long hard tour and to come out at the end with something is pretty special," England captain Strauss told Sky Sports."I'm delighted. We played really well and handled the pressure well. We're very happy tonight. "It has been a tough tour. We would have liked to have won the test series (won 1-0 by West Indies) -- we played some good cricket but kept coming out with nothing."Put in to bat, England started well as they overcame the early loss of Andrew Strauss to reach 88-2 after 15 overs on a difficult pitch. However, an all-too-familiar middle-order collapse took the steam out of the innings.Kevin Pietersen was looking good on 48 when recalled spinner Sulieman Benn had him controversially caught by Darren Sammy, with TV pictures suggesting he grounded the ball.Ravi Bopara was also in lively form but he too missed out on a half-century when he fell for 44. When Owais Shah and Flintoff followed soon after, England had slumped to 112-5. Paul Collingwood (35 not out) and Matt Prior (25 not out) staged a spirited recovery with an unbeaten partnership of 60, including 30 off the last three overs. 

West Indies' chase got off to the worst possible start when captain Chris Gayle was caught in the slips off Jimmy Anderson off the third ball of the innings. Shivnarine Chanderpaul (13) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (23), who have troubled England throughout the tour, both settled in but failed to build on their starts as England took wickets at regular intervals.Flintoff, whose tour has been bedevilled by injury, then took centre stage as he bowled Denesh Ramdin, had Ravi Rampaul lbw and then bowled Benn.

The match ended in something of a shamble as Sammy (seven) was run out going for a second run to leave them all out 146 after 28 overs.Strauss was appointed captain of the Test and one-day teams despite not being involved in one-day internationals for almost two years but he rewarded the selectors for their faith by taking the man of the series award."I haven't played one day cricket for a couple of years so I was a bit nervous especially as a captain," he said. "One thing as a captain is to lead from the front. I had a good test series, I saw the ball well and had a positive intent."Man of the match Flintoff said: "It has been a tough tour so it is nice to finish on a high and a win. It was also a nice finish personally for me today."We had a tough trip to India just before Christmas and then a Test series here. It was important to finish on a high with what we have coming up."Of his injuries, he said: "It has been frustrating but it's nights like this that keep you going."

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