BRISTOL – Moeen Ali’s blazing century set up England’s 124-run victory over West Indies in the third one-day international at Bristol on Sunday as the hosts went 2-0 up with two to play in a five-match series.
Ali’s 53-ball ton – with his second 50 coming off just 12 deliveries – was the cornerstone of England’s imposing 369/9.
West Indies were in with a chance so long as the big-hitting Chris Gayle was at the crease.
But when the veteran opener – who missed the rain-swept no-result in the second ODI at Trent Bridge on Thursday with a hamstring injury suffered warming up on his 38th birthday – was run out for 94, the tourists’ hopes of winning disappeared with him.
West Indies were eventually dismissed for 245, with fast bowler Liam Plunkett taking five for 52 – his maiden ODI five-wicket haul – as England won with 65 balls to spare.
Earlier, all-rounder Ali sprinted to his hundred with nearly half of his runs coming via eight sixes, before he fell for 102.
His century also included seven fours, with the left-hander needing a mere 12 balls for his second 50.
England’s total was their largest in a one-day international against West Indies, surpassing their 328/7 at Edgbaston in 2009, and their fifth-largest in this format overall.
Man-of-the-Match Ali’s hundred was also the second quickest by an England batsman at this level after Jos Buttler’s 46-ball ODI century against Pakistan in Dubai in 2015.
England lost three wickets for 11 runs to be 217/6 in the 35th over.
But a partnership of 117 in 76 balls between Ali and Chris Woakes (34) turned the tide in a match that featured 28 sixes in total.
With Ali leading the charge, England scored 123 runs in their last 10 overs after being sent into bat.
He should have been out for 87 when he smashed a Jerome Taylor full toss to point only for Gayle to drop the catch at point.
Ali went to his century with two sixes in three balls off Miguel Cummins – a pull over deep square leg followed by a soaring drive over long-on.
He eventually holed out off spinner Ashley Nurse and received a standing ovation from a near-capacity crowd.
“I enjoyed myself,” Ali told Sky Sports. “The ground isn’t that big, so it’s nice to play on it. I just tried to slog it as much as I could.”
The series continues at The Oval on Wednesday.