London: Kevin Pietersen`s retirement from the limited-overs format was expected to cause further a dent in England`s opening partnership. However, the new combine of Alastair Cook and Ian Bell put to rest any such theories as England beat West Indies by eight wickets with five overs to spare at the Oval in London.
England also gave a fitting tribute to young Tom Maynard, the Surrey and England Lions cricketer, who passed away on Monday.
Chasing 239, Cook led from the front with a solid 112, his fifth ODI ton. Bell, who made 53, played second fiddle to his captain in a 122-run opening stand that laid the foundation for an easy win.
England`s decision to attack right from the outset caught the West Indies new ball pair of Ravi Rampaul and Tino Best off guard. At no stage did there appear to be any pressure on the batsmen, who kept chipping away at the target comfortably.
England, who have been vulnerable to spin in recent times, negotiated Sunil Narine with utmost ease. Narine, who put the Australians in a spin at home in March, before emerging as player of the tournament in the Indian Premier League, went wicketless.
Darren Sammy, the West Indies skipper picked up both wickets to fall. Bell chipped one to cover, while Cook, who looked to accelerate post his century only managed to top edge a hoick to mid off.
Jonathan Trott finished unbeaten on 43 and Ravi Bopara got some valuable exposure with an unbeaten 19.
At the start of the game, after being sent in to bat, West Indies looked on course to notch up a 250-plus total, before a familiar lower-order collapse pegged them back. Dwayne Bravo top scored with 77 as West Indies ended with 238 for 9 in 50 overs.
Bravo and Keiron Pollard, who made 41, shared a 100-run-stand for the fifth wicket to help West Indies recover after they slumped from 63 for no loss to 79 for four. Chris Gayle marked his much anticipated return to the West Indies line-up with a blazing 53. His 44th ODI fifty, which included three fours and five sixes, gave West Indies the impetus upfront, before they lost their way.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad picked up two wickets apiece.
England lead the series 2-0, with West Indies having only pride to play for in the last match of the series at Headingley in Leeds on Friday.
BDST: 1030 HRS, June 20, 2012
Edited by: Manoz Halder, Newsroom Editor
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