The one advantage the visitors had over the hosts was familiarity with the Incora ground. They had spent their acclimatisation period there, playing two intra-squad matches to prepare themselves for battle.
But the game panned out like those of last year’s tour.
A string of matches allowed Lisa Keightley variations in selection. Her decision to hold Kate Cross, Freya Davies and Katie George back for another day meant Nat Sciver had to produce as the third seamer, and she did (4-0-16-2). She was helped by the Katherine Brunt show at the other end. An analysis of 4-1-8-0 is quite ridiculous in a T20.
Anya Shrubsole is still feeling her way back from injury. Her open delivery position means the ball is liable to fade to leg when she’s not at the top of her game.
The bowling line-up was completed by the 21-year-old spin twins, Sophie Ecclestone (4-0-19-2) and Sarah Glenn (4-0-27-1). They look similar and turn the ball the same way, but by quite different methods. Ecclestone’s left-arm action is as close to perfection as you’re likely to get. Glenn, much less experienced, showed once more why her leg-spin is so highly regarded. Mady Villiers played, but merely came along for the ride. She didn’t bowl, but fielded finely. Her time will come.
Tammy Beaumont was restored to opening with Danni Wyatt, the experiment with her at No 7 quickly shelved. Her 62 provided the backbone of the innings, with useful contributions from Heather Knight 25 and Amy Jones 24. The batting fell away in midstream. Against a stronger outfit than the West Indies could provide, that would have proved very costly.
England had looked like reaching 180 or more, but had to be satisfied with 163-8. The visitors’ top score in England was a very modest 140. Would they be able to do better with Deandra Dottin restored as opener? She did play the major role, striking much the biggest six of the evening into the next parish and finishing as top scorer with 69 (off 59). Then a ball from Ecclestone deceived her.
Lee Ann Kirby hit a dominating 89* in the second intra-squad game, but couldn’t reproduce the fireworks when they were most needed. Contrary to expectations, far too many of her team-mates could do little more than defend and push singles as the England bowlers spun their webs. The outfielding was very keen with only a few minor blemishes.
Amy Jones excelled herself behind the stumps again, standing up to discourage the batters from advancing down the track to menace bowlers’ lengths. She claimed one stumping and completed a tricky run-out after the biggest mix-up in mid-pitch seen this season. After the wicket was struck down at one end, the ball still managed to find its way to Jones’ end to snare the other batter. Worth the non-existent entry price on its own.
The West Indies started slowly in the powerplay and never threatened to close on the hosts’ total.
It will be vital for them to show more controlled aggression over the coming games. But the England bowling attack is well balanced and mean.
At the end, the game descended into slow-motion farce. With four balls to go, and the West Indies needing about twelve runs per ball, Brunt called for sawdust. The game halted for several minutes as the groundsman gamely sprinted both ways with his bucket, ensuring the safe landing-ground Brunt needed after her lengthy injury.
England 163-8 beat West Indies 116-6 by 47 runs
Player of the Match: Tammy Beaumont