Salt’s brilliant century propels England to a resounding seven-wicket victory against West Indies in the third T20 match.

England’s bowlers may be clueless about controlling the powerful batting of West Indies, but for the first time in a previously one-sided series, their batters fought back and achieved a brilliant, classic victory. They won the match by seven wickets with one ball remaining, gaining a foothold in the series for the tourists.

Phil Salt played an amazing innings, scoring 109 runs off just 56 balls. His performance was even more impressive considering he struggled against the intense heat of the afternoon in Grenada. However, it seemed like it wouldn’t be enough. With just 13 balls remaining and 37 runs needed, Liam Livingstone was dismissed. But then entered Harry Brook and chaos ensued.

Brook faced only seven balls. The first one resulted in a six, smashed down the ground, and the second one earned just one run. This left Brook on strike for the final over instead of the established Salt. Andre Russell took the ball. Brook hit the first ball for four, smacked the next one over extra cover, and lifted the third one, a full toss, over fine leg for another six. The target was reduced to five runs off three balls. The first ball of the next over went to midwicket, where the batters ran two, and the next ball was lifted over third for another six. England won the match with a ball to spare. This match marked the second time in their history that they hit more than 18 sixes, half of which were scored by Salt.

West Indies hit 16 sixes, with 96 of their runs coming solely from this type of shot, along with 56 runs from fours. England is experiencing a harsh lesson in how not to bowl to these opponents in these conditions, although they seem unable to do anything about it. Throughout the series, their bowling has been ruthlessly attacked, having already conceded 43 sixes in only three matches. When England last visited the Caribbean in February 2022, West Indies scored a record-breaking 51 sixes in five T20s, more than England had ever conceded in a single series. It seems likely that this record will be shattered by the end of this series on Thursday.

The West Indies innings was even more impressive considering they lost the toss and two wickets for just eight runs within the first two overs, a disastrous start to their afternoon. However, Nicholas Pooran and Shai Hope stabilized the innings with a partnership of 54 runs off 37 balls. After Hope was dismissed for 26, Pooran was joined by Rovman Powell and they continued to rebuild, accelerating with a partnership of 58 runs off 32 balls. Pooran eventually fell for 82 runs off 45 balls, caught by Livingstone at deep midwicket when attempting a third six off Adil Rashid’s over. Given that his team was 8 for 2 when he faced his second ball, it was an exceptional effort.

Despite this, with four overs remaining, West Indies stood at 143 for four and were heading towards a moderate score. However, the last four overs, bowled by Tymal Mills, Rashid, Sam Curran, and Reece Topley, went for 25, 15, 21, and 18 runs, respectively. England could have possibly bowled Gus Atkinson, but considering his two overs in less pressurized phases of the game had already gone for 18 and 16 runs, it seemed wise to leave him to his thoughts.

England’s response started excellently, with Jos Buttler hitting two sixes in the first over bowled by Akeal Hosein, setting the tone for their innings. Buttler went on to score a half-century and put on a 115-run partnership for the first wicket with Salt. It was a statement of intent, especially considering that on Thursday, on the same pitch, they had struggled to score against spinner Gudakesh Motie, managing only nine runs off his four overs. This time, they scored 11 runs off his first four balls and 18 off his first over. It was the only way to respond. While England may not know how to stop West Indies’ boundary game, they have finally found their own way to score.

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