Ben Duckett spared England’s blushes after a top-order collapse as the tourists posted 206 for nine in their rain-affected ODI series decider against the West Indies in Barbados.
Matthew Forde had a Windies debut to remember with three for 20 early on before Jos Buttler’s ill-judged hook to fine-leg saw him depart for a golden duck, which left England reeling on 49 for five in the 10th over.
Duckett ensured there was no capitulation, amassing 71 in 73 balls, and Liam Livingstone contributed 45 but they were prised out in quick succession in an ODI reduced to 43 overs each then 40 due to rain.
The start of this third ODI – with the teams sharing a win apiece in Antigua – was delayed by a couple of hours because of intermittent downpours but the Windies won what seemed an important toss.
While Matthew Potts replaced Brydon Carse, who was feeling unwell, the Windies brought in Forde, a 21-year-old seamer who capitalised on some unpredictable bounce and a hint of sideways movement.
Forde broke through in the first over as Phil Salt’s lame chip just about carried to Alzarri Joseph. Salt had put on four successive fifty-plus opening stands with Will Jacks but had to trudge off forlornly for four after replays showed Joseph with his hands under the ball.
It got even better in Forde’s next over when Zak Crawley tried to leave only to be surprised by some extra bounce, with the ball thudding into his glove and looping gently to Alick Athanaze in the cordon.
Forde’s only misstep came when he misfielded on the boundary after Duckett’s meaty pull, giving the left-hander the first of three fours in an over off Romario Shepherd. Forde immediately atoned, though, hitting a nagging length and finding a bit of shape to take the edge of Jacks, out for 17 off 20 balls.
Luck was with the Windies following the run out of Harry Brook, whose momentary hesitation before setting off for a single after nudging into the leg-side was his undoing following Joseph’s direct hit following an excellent pick up and throw off his bowling. Not even a desperate dive could save the Yorkshireman.
Two balls later and Buttler’s rush of blood to the head left England five down after 9.4 overs.
England have endured some epic collapses in the Caribbean and this briefly threatened to be added to the list but Duckett and Livingstone ensured they avoided total calamity.
Duckett put away his customary sweeps to the spinners until he had adjusted to the bounce and was nearing 50, after which he unleashed a couple of unrestrained pulls off Joseph for six and four.
Livingstone was initially watchful but followed Duckett in going on to the attack as he also cleared the rope off Joseph before being dropped on 31 when Keacy Carty shelled a simple chance in the deep.
An 88-run stand was ended when Duckett got a leading edge to short midwicket while Livingstone also seemed to be undone by the ball holding up a little as he clubbed to mid-on in Shepherd’s next over.
Another shower led to a 45-minute delay and another reduction in overs, leaving England seven more to negotiate.
From 167 for seven, the challenge would have been to post a 200-plus total and they did so courtesy of a handy last-wicket unbroken partnership of 35 from Gus Atkinson (20 not out) and Potts (15no)