x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

'Clinical' England find self-belief

England completed a clean sweep of victories over West Indies to successfully wrap up the first part of their hectic summer before turning their attention to bigger challenges.

LONDON // England completed a clean sweep of victories over West Indies to successfully wrap up the first part of their hectic summer before turning their attention to bigger challenges. With the World Twenty20 tournament and a home Ashes series to come, the Test and one-day series against West Indies was never considered to be one of England's top priorities.

But they managed to gain as much out of these early matches as possible, claiming a whitewash in the two-Test series before wrapping up their one-day series triumph in emphatic fashion on Tuesday with a 58-run victory in the final game at Edgbaston. Demoralised and disjointed just a few months ago after the fall-out between the then coach Peter Moores and the former captain Kevin Pietersen, England have regrouped impressively to deliver their most dominant display of the summer so far.

They produced a superb batting display to record their third highest total in a 50-over international of 328 for seven, their highest against West Indies. It was a target way beyond the West Indies side, who have shown little appetite for battle since they arrived on English soil five weeks ago, and they subsided to 270 all out in reply. England's total, their highest since scoring 340 for six in the tied match against New Zealand in Napier last year, relied on a solid opening partnership and a superb 149-run third-wicket stand between Matt Prior and Owais Shah.

The wicketkeeper Prior has been overlooked for the World Twenty20, and seemed determined to make a point to England's selectors. Adapting quickly to the No 3 role he has been given in the absence of Pietersen, who is resting an Achilles injury, Prior hit a superb 87 off 86 balls to record his highest one-day international score. His efforts alongside Shah, who dominated their 126-ball stand, allowed England to pass 300 for the first time in 22 one-day internationals.

"I like the way we were clinical right through the Tests and the one-dayers," the England captain Andrew Strauss said. "New players came in and did well but generally there was a level of consistency there which is very important. Strauss, who will play no part in England's World Twenty20 campaign on home soil next month, tipped his improving side to impress in the competition. He said: "We are far from the finished article at this stage but what I am excited about is that the guys are very keen to improve.

"We have a good outside chance. We are playing with confidence and in our own conditions have another edge." "We did not let up in any stage in the one-dayers or Tests. I'm delighted to win the series, it builds momentum for the summer." * Agencies