England 267 for 3 (Salt 119, Buttler 55, Livingstone 54*) beat West Indies 192 (Russell 51, Pooran 39, Topley 3-37) by 75 runs
England’s opening salvo
England milked 12 runs off T20I debutant Matthew Forde in the first over. All but one of them went to Salt, who cleared the rope at long-on and followed that immediately with a drive through mid-off for four. Buttler joined in with a superb reverse-swept six off Akeal Hosein then a sweep for four next ball before Forde conceded 22 runs off the fifth over so that by the end of the powerplay England were flying at 68 without loss.
It compounded West Indies’ bowling woes in the powerplay. They have taken only one wicket inside the first six overs of England’s innings so far this series, with Salt and Buttler racking up opening stands of 77, 9, 115 and 117. Salt brought up his fifty off just 23 balls with back-to-back fours off Russell. Of all England’s power hitting during their union, Buttler’s effortless 83-metre six over extra cover off Gudakesh Motie looked like being the shot of the day until it was followed straight away by another maximum, despatched even deeper into the stands at long-on to bring up his half-century off 26 deliveries. Buttler perished a short time later when he picked out Rovman Powell at long-on off the bowling of Jason Holder but he had helped put his side in an excellent position after 9.5 overs.
Salt the seasoned centurion
Salt picked up where he left off with an unbeaten 109 off 56 balls in the previous game, and then some. After Buttler went, Salt simply carried on, launching three sixes in a row off the start of Sherfane Rutherford’s solitary over. Jacks kept tempo with his partner, taking England past the 150-mark with a reverse sweep for four and nonchalant six over backward square leg off Hosein as he and Salt muscled their stand to 55 off just 19 balls. It ended on 56 just three balls later when Jacks was pinned lbw by Hosein after a nine-ball 24. When Salt brought up his century he tore off his helmet and launched a scream skywards, becoming only the second man from a Full Member nation – and third in all – to register back-to-back hundreds in T20Is.
As if West Indies’ early bowling troubles weren’t enough, their death bowling has also been a problem and, as Livingstone met Forde with a triumvirate of sixes in the 18th over, that hadn’t changed. It took Russell nailing his yorker with a hint of reverse swing to remove Salt, bowled through his legs as he tried to slog-sweep, but not before he had taken England past their previous best total in the format of 241 for 3, scored against New Zealand in 2019. Livingstone pounced on a Holder full toss to reach what was only his second 50-plus score in 37 T20Is with a swept four through square leg and he rubbed it in when Holder’s yorker flew off his outside edge through third man for one more boundary.
Hits keep coming
Brandon King was reportedly taken for X-rays after being struck on the knee by the ball while fielding early in England’s innings, but he reappeared to open the batting only to fall first ball to an understandably attacking mindset. Looking to cut a Moeen Ali delivery, he managed only a top edge which found the hands of a leaping Topley at short third. Pooran proceeded to smash 20 off the last four balls of the over, culminating in a mammoth 93m six over deep midwicket. Topley conceded 12 runs off the next over before he had Kyle Mayers held second grab at midwicket by Chris Woakes, who had woken to the news that he’d been picked up by Punjab Kings in the IPL auction. Woakes was then smashed for 16 runs off three balls at the end of his first over, Pooran dishing out some Jacks-style hitting at No. 3 as West Indies raced to 58 for 2 after just four overs. But Pooran fell for an impressive 39 off 15 when Harry Brook took a wonderful catch, running in from long-on and diving forwards to hold on to one struck high in the air off Curran.
Salt and Buttler teamed up in more ways than one, with the former taking the wicketkeeping gloves to give his captain “a different perspective from the field”, Buttler later told broadcasters. Salt stayed in the action with a simple catch to remove Shai Hope off Woakes. By the end of the powerplay, West Indies were 87 for 4 with Rutherford looking set to let loose. He did with three consecutive fours in Rehan’s first over to take West Indies to the 100-mark in the seventh.
Task too tall
Adil Rashid entered the attack in the eighth over and his fifth ball accounted for Powell, a peach that deceived the West Indies skipper and crashed into off stump. Rehan saw two balls in three sent over the fence at deep midwicket, first by Russell, then Rutherford. But Rehan responded with two wickets in as many deliveries, Rutherford lbw and Holder caught by Jacks at deep midwicket for a first-ball duck. By the halfway point of the innings, West Indies were seven down.
England returned to seam with Curran removing Hosein and Buttler, fielding at cover, taking a simple catch off the bowling of Topley to dismiss Forde, who had made his international debut when West Indies sealed a 2-1 victory in the ODI leg of England’s visit. Russell maintained his defiance, smashing a 108-metre six off Topley to move within one boundary of his fifty and passing the mark when Brook misfielded just inside the rope at long-off but when he holed out to Brook next ball, it was all over.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women’s cricket, at ESPNcricinfo