March 9, 2017
Start time 0930 local (1330 GMT)
The series is already England’s but that does not mean there is nothing to play for in Barbados. Another defeat would leave West Indies stuck on 84 points in the ODI rankings, five behind Pakistan in eighth place – but a win would lift them up to 86. West Indies’ next opponents? Yes, Pakistan.
With automatic World Cup qualification Stuart Law’s immediate goal, having taken over as coach last month, West Indies’ next four home fixtures could go a long way to determining their fate. Beat England and then keep Pakistan winless and they have a good chance of getting back into the top eight. Holding on to that position until the September cut-off might be trickier but that is a problem Law would welcome.
Their prospects may have been dented before the start of the third ODI, however, with Shannon Gabriel ruled out by the side strain he suffered in Antigua. Gabriel troubled England’s top order with the new ball and his pace will be missed; Miguel Cummins has been called up to the squad as a replacement.
England’s sights are set on a tournament much closer on the horizon: this year’s Champions Trophy. Two battling victories in Antigua, albeit against lower-ranked opposition, have hinted at an increased game intelligence and Joe Root, whose unbeaten 90 anchored a chase of 226 on a tired surface to seal the series on Sunday, lauded the team’s “smart” cricket and ability to find ways to win in tough circumstances.
Paul Farbrace, coaching the side in Trevor Bayliss’ absence, would doubtless like to gloss the tour with an emphatic finish in Bridgetown. To that end, England are likely to recall Alex Hales to open the batting after he was passed fit following a hand injury. England’s depleted attack has held up well and, while ranking points are less of a priority, they seem to be building up a head of steam before an important white-ball summer.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
West Indies: LLLLT
In the spotlight
There is no doubt that Kraigg Brathwaite is the sort of cricketer West Indies should be looking to build around – at 24 years of age, he is already one of their senior Test batsmen. His suitability for ODIs is more open to question, however. In nine innings, he has one fifty and potters along at a strike rate of 57.96, slower than anyone else in the world since his debut in September (with a qualification of 100 runs). Most teams have abandoned the use of such drop-anchor openers and Brathwaite must either add a few shots to his repertoire or prove that he can build the substantial innings that are required of a top-order accumulator.
It is only a few months since Jos Buttler was leading England to victory in Bangladesh, standing in for the absent Eoin Morgan as ODI captain. Since that tour – on which he was England’s second-highest run-scorer behind Ben Stokes – he has entered something of a dry spell, with white-ball scores of 46, 0, 31, 10, 11, 15, 0, 1, 8, 14 and 0 in India and the West Indies (including warm-up matches). As deputy leader, first-choice keeper and the scorer of England’s three fastest ODI hundreds, it will take a dip in form both prolonged and severe to put his place under pressure, but he could nevertheless do with a few runs. Jonny Bairstow will not need asking twice if an opportunity arises.
West Indies will have to make at least one change, thanks to Gabriel’s injury, with Alzarri Joseph perhaps the logical replacement. Bajan Cummins has also been called in and could feature on his home ground, while Rovman Powell is putting pressure on Carlos Brathwaite, who continues to play in the shadow of his World T20 final heroics.
West Indies (probable) 1 Kraigg Brathwaite, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Kieran Powell, 4 Shai Hope (wk), 5 Jason Mohammed, 6 Jonathan Carter, 7 Jason Holder (capt), 8 Rovman Powell/Carlos Brathwaite, 9 Devendra Bishoo, 10 Ashley Nurse, 11 Alzarri Joseph
England have stressed that they will play their strongest team in the final match – although Liam Plunkett’s upset stomach* could lead to a debut for Tom Curran or Jake Ball, who is fit again after hurting his knee in a warm-up game, being recalled. Hales is set to replace Sam Billings after officially joining the squad. England are expected to wear black armbands in tribute to John Hampshire, who died last week.
England (probable) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Alex Hales, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Liam Plunkett, 11 Steven Finn/Jake Ball.
Pitch and conditions
The Kensington Oval surface is expected to be quicker than the one played on (twice) in Antigua, while heavy rainfall in the preceding 24 hours and a tinge of green may be of help to the seamers. The forecast is for a warm day with the possibility of showers later on.
Stats and trivia
- England have a 5-4 winning record in ODIs against West Indies in Barbados.
- Their last 50-over outing at Kensington Oval came in 2009, when Andrew Strauss’ unbeaten 79 off 61 balls helped them to a nine-wicket, Duckworth-Lewis victory.
- Eoin Morgan needs 115 runs to pass Alec Stewart as England’s third-highest ODI run-scorer.
“We need to do a lot better at the top of our innings.”
West Indies captain Jason Holder wants more from his team’s batting
“We want to make it 3-0, that’s our aim now. We don’t aim for medicroity. We want the best.”
England opener Jason Roy promises no let-up
*2100 GMT – This story was updated with news of Plunkett’s illness