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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 May, 2004, 23:06 GMT 00:06 UK
England make modest history
Test Match Special's Simon Mann
By Simon Mann
BBC Sport in Barbados

Marcus Trescothick
Trescothick was in fine form for England

England created a modest piece of history with their victory in the seventh one-day international.

It was the first time they have avoided defeat in a series in the Caribbean. It has been quite a tour.

The manner of their victory was every bit as emphatic as West Indies' win in St Lucia on Sunday.

For Shivnarine Chanderpaul, read Marcus Trescothick. His pulsating innings gave the other batsmen breathing space.

By the time Paul Collingwood and Chris Read came together for their sixth wicket partnership, England needed fewer than four runs per over.

Andrew Strauss displayed telling maturity for a novice international. He is surely a Test player in the making.

Perversely, he has the qualities associated with Mark Butcher, who has never been considered for one-day internationals.

Strauss prefers accumulation to devastation and the situation was made for him.

England had won a useful toss. They were able to exploit some early moisture and West Indies could not play freely inside the first 15 overs.

What is clear is that on pitches that give help to the bowlers, England are a more competitive side
Chris Gayle tried to dominate. He mixed luck with several bold shots before being deceived by a clever piece of bowling from James Anderson.

Despite this defeat, West Indies have the makings of a formidable batting line-up, especially on their own pitches.

Ramnaresh Sarwan displayed admirable maturity to bat through the innings. It is easy to forget he is still only 23 years old. He could be the team's key batsman in the 2007 World Cup.

For pure excitement though keep an eye on Dwayne Smith.

His flick for six off Rikki Clarke that sent the ball sailing into the street behind the Eric Inniss Stand had all the power and nonchalance of Viv Richards about it.

In January, Smith scored the fastest century ever by a player on Test debut.

He is raw and unpredictable but has the makings of a devastating one-day player.

His development in the Test arena will depend on his willingness to develop patience and judicious shot selection.

Dwayne Smith
Dwayne Smith is one to watch for the future

England did not learn as much as they would have liked from this one-day series. The rain saw to that.

What is clear is that on pitches that give help to the bowlers, England are a more competitive side.

On flat, easy-paced surfaces their bowlers are neutralised while the batting line-up does not have sufficient experience or power to build unobtainable totals.

Rain restricted the opportunity to experiment. Anthony McGrath and Ashley Giles did not play a single game while James Kirtley played only one.

McGrath has been the winter's forgotten man. He has featured in only two warm-up matches, a farcical non-contest in Bangladesh and a game curtailed by the weather in Sri Lanka.

Life on tour can be very unsatisfying for players on the fringe of the team. While some players, like Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff, are desperate for a break, others cannot wait to return to their counties.




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