Bairstow brilliance leads England to big win
JONNY Bairstow has taken his chance at the top of the order to help England to an impressive seven-wicket win over the West Indies in the opening match of the one-day series at Old Trafford.
Bairstow smashed his first ODI century as the home team chased down a modest total of 205 in a game reduced to 42 overs because weather-delayed start.
The Yorkshireman got to exactly 100 in the 31st over with teammate Ben Stokes smashing a six off spinner Ashley Nurse to seal the win shortly after.
The Windies defeat means they will have to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
Chris Gayle, dropped by Joe Root in the first over, hit three huge sixes as the visitors reached 45 without loss after five overs.
But after Root made amends to catch Gayle on the boundary for 37, the home side fought back well and wickets fell at regular intervals.
Shai Hope (35), Marlon Samuels (17) and Jason Mohammed (18) all made starts but none went on to a big score.
Skipper Jason Holder's 41 not out helped West Indies past 200 but it never looked like being enough.
After Alex Hales was caught off the bowling of Jerome Taylor for 19, Root joined Bairstow for a second-wicket stand of 125 before being bowled by Kesrick Williams for 54.
Bairstow was playing only his 28th ODI since making his debut six years ago, and now hopes to become a permanent fixture.
"It seems a long time ago that I made my debut in one-day cricket and there's been ups and downs along the way,” he told Sky Sports.
"When you get a chance you try and come in and you try and take your chance.
"At the same time, with the strength in depth we've got within the England side at the moment, that's been so settled for over a year now, the opportunities are few and far between so when you get one it's so important that you do try and take it.
"That's why we've gone on from scoring 200-250 to scoring 350-400.”