England completed a series whitewash over the West Indies with an emphatic victory in the third one-day international in Barbados.
Eoin Morgan’s men hammered the home side by 186 runs – securing their most convincing win of their tour due to fine performances from Alex Hales and Joe Root with the bat.
Both men scored centuries to guide the Three Lions to a score of over 300, which proved to be too much for the Windies to handle.
Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett starred with the ball, taking three wickets apiece to put Jason Holder’s men behind the rate before they were eventually bowled out for 142.
The dominance of England’s win helped them recover from their series defeat at the hands of India and will send them into the summer full of confidence ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy.
We’ll now review the performances of the Three Lions in their victory and look ahead at where they can improve for the tournament, beginning in June with Morgan’s men currently backed by Bet365 sportsbook at +300 to secure the crown for the first time.
Jason Roy had a frustrating series, despite being in relatively good form. The opener notched a half-century in the second match of the series, only to be dismissed just a few deliveries passing the milestone going for one big strike too many.
He notched scores in the teens in the other two matches, but there should be no concerns over his ability to find his form over the summer.
The 26-year-old has been a revelation since the World Cup last year and with Hales at the top of the innings – forms one of the most devastating opening partnerships in international cricket.
Hales proved his class on his return to the side. Injury had ruled him out of the tour of India, while he had opted to sit out the Bangladesh trip due to concerns over security issues. However, he bounced back with a fine century, with numerous great shots down to the ground to prove his worth.
Root remains one of the finest batsmen in world cricket, notching his ninth century in one-day internationals in the final match – adding to his match-winning knock of 90 in Antigua. Should he fire in the summer England will have an excellent chance to win their maiden ODI title.
Further down the line, Morgan scored a match-winning century in the first match with an innings of 102. He has been extremely consistent in the middle order for the Three Lions since being named captain and should be a solid option for the foreseeable future.
Jos Buttler failed to fire in the Caribbean, but his outstanding ability will not see him dislodged from the side. Ben Stokes continued to shine in the lower order with two important innings’, highlighting England’s strength down the line-up.
The Three Lions boasted their strength in depth by bringing Steven Finn into the fold for the series, who notched his 100th wicket in ODIs in Antigua. He was his usual self during the three matches, showing moments of top quality, but also his struggles with consistency.
Finn has been England’s most frustrating player over the last five years due to his inability to showcase his ability for lengthy periods. He had the chance to lock down his place in the side with three impressive outings due to the absences of Jake Ball and David Willey, but he might not have done enough to convince the selectors.
Chris Woakes appears to be taking the next step in his international career as he was outstanding for the Three Lions in the series, especially in the Barbados when he claimed figures for 3-18. The pressure will be on him to lead the attack in the summer, but if he continues on his trajectory, he should have no issue rising to the challenge.
Liam Plunkett’s pace caused issues for the Windies, allowing him to strike with regularity throughout the series. He will be an important player for Morgan’s men due to his ability to bowl yorkers and bouncers towards the end of the innings, while also offering a different speed to Woakes.
One area of concern for England will be their spinners. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali failed to fire for the Three Lions over the winter and were ineffectual in the Caribbean. Should they not be able to elevate the level of their play in the summer – it could be an area of weakness that their opponents will seek to exploit.
England only have five limited overs matches ahead of them before the tournament, with a large portion of the squad missing their clashes against Ireland to compete in the IPL.
That leaves them with only three matches to hone their skills for the ICC Champions trophy against South Africa at the end of May.
For all their issues at the World Cup, England have performed well in the competition, reaching the final twice on home soil in 2004 and 2013, only to be beaten by the West Indies and India respectively in heartbreaking losses.
The Three Lions’ failure at the 2015 World Cup has led to a revolution in their style of play. No team has surpassed 300 more times than Morgan’s men since the end of the tournament, highlighting the attacking nature of the team, with big strikers all the way down to Plunkett in the tail.
They have few weaknesses in their side and playing at home will certainly help mask what deficiencies they do have in the unit. Spin will not be a huge issue in early June across the country, while the use of swing will be key and could be the driving force behind a victory for the Three Lions.
The pressure will be on them to live up to expectations, but they certainly have more than enough talent to pull of the feat and win their first 50-over competition, proving they are the dominant side in limited-overs cricket along with atoning for their defeat in the final of the WT20 last year.
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