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Strauss guides England to emphatic victory

cricket Updated: Mar 30, 2009 09:16 IST

AP
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Andrew Strauss hit an unbeaten 79 on Sunday to guide England to a nine-wicket victory over the West Indies on Duckworth/Lewis in a rain-shortened fourth one-day cricket international at Kensington Oval.

England's win levels the five-match series at 2-2 with the final showdown in St Lucia next Friday.

Strauss hit nine fours and one six off 61 balls as England, set a revised target of 135 off 20 overs, romped home at 136-1 off 18.3 overs.

Earlier, the West Indies were limited to 239-9 off 50 overs. All-rounder Dwayne Bravo topscored with 69 off 72 balls. The right-hander lashed seven fours and two sixes to guide the home side from 145-6 to a respectable total.

Dimitri Mascarenhas led the England attack with 3-26 off 10 overs while Stuart Broad (3-62) also claimed crucial scalps. "It went pretty well. As cricketers, the only way we can do our talking in on the pitch and I've got to keep doing that," Strauss said. "I'm delighted with the way I played and even more delighted we were able to win the game."

Captain Chris Gayle gave the West Indies a flying start with a boundary-studded 46 off 39 deliveries. The powerful left-hander continued from where he left off on Friday when he hit eight sixes in 80. On Sunday, he slapped five sixes and three fours. He and Lendl Simmons added 72 for the first wicket in 12.4 overs. Once Gayle top-edged a pull at Broad and was caught by wicket-keeper Matt Prior, the home team slipped away. Simmons (29) was run out after a mix-up with Ramnaresh Sarwan, who went cheaply as he dragged on from Andrew Flintoff as England took control at 83-3.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Denesh Ramdin added 43 for the fourth wicket to revive the West Indies' fortunes.

Mascarenhas then claimed three quick wickets to further derail the innings.

Ramdin (26) holed out to mid-off, Chanderpaul feathered an edge to Prior and Kieron Pollard (0) picked out deep square leg. Bravo dominated the latter part of the innings, playing some thrilling strokes during his half century.

Heavy and persistent rain during the interval kept the players off the field for 2{ hours and reduced England's pursuit to 135 off 20 overs.

The visitors, handicapped by injuries to key batsmen Kevin Pietersen (back spasms) and Andrew Flintoff (bruised thumb) when they were in the field, were given a rousing start by Strauss and Ravi Bopara.

Strauss lashed Lionel Baker's third over of the innings for 18 runs, including four successive fours, to set the tone. The 32-year-old left-hander reached his half century off 41 balls and shared an opening stand of 108 with Bopara.

Bopara lashed one huge six in 35 off 39 balls but fell with victory in sight. He holed out to deep fine leg off Kieron Pollard. Matt Prior hit an unbeaten 14 toward the end but his captain Strauss hit the winning runs.

Umpire Steve Bucknor, standing in his final international after a 20-year career that spanned a world record 128 tests and 181 one-dayers, made the final signal of the match as Strauss steered a boundary to third man to seal England's victory.