Antigua: England opener Michael Lumb hit 106 on debut but the West Indies battled back from precarious situations with bat and ball to seal a 15-run win in the opening one-day cricket international here on Friday at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
When southpaw Lumb was in full flow, England was the favourite to chase down West Indies’ total of 269-6 off 50 overs.
But spinner Sunil Narine claimed 2-36 off 10 overs and captain Dwayne Bravo (1-59) and Ravi Rampaul (1-53) were lethal at the death to limit England to 254-6 off 50 overs and give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Bravo had earlier been the saviour with the bat, slamming an unbeaten 87 off 91 balls to lift the West Indies from a perilous 45-4. The 30-year-old, later named Man of the Match, lashed eight fours and a six.
Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy added contrasting half centuries of their own to boost the hosts after the trio of England off spinners had stalled the early innings.
Simmons compiled 65 off 94 balls and shared a restorative fifth wicket stand of 108 with Bravo.
Sammy went berserk in smashing five fours and four sixes in 61 off 39 balls as he and his skipper added 116 off 62 balls towards the end.
The West Indies blasted 85 runs from the last five overs.
Earlier, James Tredwell (10—1—23—1), Joe Root and Moeen Ali each took a wicket as the England slow men stifled the hosts.
But the pair of Trinidadians, Simmons and Bravo, rebuilt sensibly before upping the tempo once the batting powerplay was taken in the 36th over.
Simmons hit six fours before he scooped a catch to extra cover off Bresnan, who took 3—68 on his 29th birthday.
But Bravo continued to bat fluently and he and Sammy ensured a grandstand finish.
England’s reply was given solidity by Lumb and fellow debutant, Moeen Ali. The pair added 96 for the first wicket in 19.3 overs.
Ali holed out off Dwayne Smith and Luke Wright (1) miscued off Darren Sammy but England was well on top at 180—2 in the 37th over.
Lumb, after hitting seven fours and two sixes off 117 balls, lofted Rampaul to extra cover. The 34—year—old was the ninth batsman to score a century on one—day international debut.
Narine helped stall the visitors with the wickets of Joe Root (37) and Ben Stokes (5) and the rest of the middle order could never find the right momentum in the end.
The series continues at the same venue on Sunday.