sport

Bopara spares England blushes

Ravi Bopara saw England home by three wickets as they overcame a scare to level the ODI series against West Indies in Antigua.

The hosts were bowled out for 159 inside 45 overs after being put in by Stuart Broad on a slow, worn pitch - Stephen Parry taking 3-32 on his debut.

As in the first match England looked to be cruising to their victory target before a clatter of wickets left the door open for the Windies.

But Bopara, with time if not wickets on his side, batted sensibly to finish on 38 not out and was ably assisted by skipper Broad, who remained unbeaten on 24.

As on Friday, Joe Root fared well with the new ball and first-change Moeen Ali also prospered to put the hosts immediately on the back foot.

Root, operating exclusively round the wicket, had Dwayne Smith chipping a catch straight into his most obvious trap - the man stationed at short mid-wicket.

Kirk Edwards was dropped at leg-slip second ball, by Tim Bresnan, but was to fall to Root anyway for single-figures when he edged to slip, where James Tredwell took a very good one-handed catch away to his right.

That was a second wicket in three balls, because at the other end opener Kieran Powell had chipped a return catch back to Moeen - also from round the wicket - and the hosts stumbled to 30-3.

There was also bounce and sideways movement off the pitch for Broad, who nonetheless restricted himself to just two initial overs.

But it was not until James Tredwell bowled the 11th over, a maiden to Darren Bravo, that Broad called on his specialist spinners.

West Indies' first Bravo never got out of first gear, apart from a six over long on off Tredwell, before he chopped the returning Broad on to his stumps.

But Dwayne was threatening another rearguard, only to be given out controversially.

It appeared Jos Buttler had fumbled a straightforward stumping chance down the leg side off Tredwell, but third umpire Marais Erasmus saw enough evidence to suggest the ball brushed the stumps - with Bravo well out of his ground - before the wicketkeeper also broke them with his gloves.

In powerplay, Parry's maiden international wicket was a big one, skilfully achieved too as Simmons having just hit the slow left-armer for a huge six over midwicket then tried a repeat dose next ball - a flatter delivery - but was caught well inside the rope.

England's reply began sensibly as Michael Lumb and Moeen made sensible headway until the latter fell to Rampaul with the score on 29.

Lumb looked set for the long haul after watching Luke Wright disappear for nought after being bamboozled by Sunil Narine, adding a promising 49 with Joe Root for the third wicket.

But Lumb was plum lbw to Nikita Miller for 39 and the tourists then saw a further three wickets fall for 10 runs in the space of four overs.

Root (23) chipped a ball straight back to Dwayne Bravo in the next over while Miller and Bravo had Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler respectively caught by wicketkeeper Ramdin to leave England tottering on 89-6.

Tim Bresnan (10) helped Bopara stem the tide but even when the Yorkshireman was run out in the 32nd over England knew they just had to see out their allotted overs.

But it required the cool head of Broad, who was put down in the slips early on, to ensure victory was theirs as he and Bopara painstakingly clawed their way to the target with a succession of ones and twos.

It was a performance lacking in confidence by England as they prepare for the third and final match in the series is on Wednesday, once again in Antagua.