|Fifth one-day international, Daren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia|
|England 113 (28.1 overs): Thomas 5-21|
|West Indies 115-3 (12.1 overs): Gayle 77|
|West Indies win by seven wickets; series drawn 2-2|
West Indies dismissed a dismal England for just 113 to set up a seven-wicket thrashing in the final one-day international and draw the series 2-2.
On a bouncy pitch in St Lucia, eight England batsmen fell to short-pitched balls, with Oshane Thomas taking 5-21.
They lost their last five wickets for two runs in collapsing to their lowest ever 50-over total against West Indies.
In reply, Chris Gayle smashed 77 off 27 balls in his final home ODI before retirement to secure an emphatic win.
With the third of the five-match series having been abandoned without a ball being bowled, the hosts avoid a seventh straight one-day series defeat by world number one side England.
By winning with 227 deliveries to spare, West Indies also ensured England’s biggest ever ODI defeat in terms of balls remaining.
- From 418-6 to 113 all out – where does England’s latest loss leave them before World Cup?
- Reaction to England’s dismal defeat
England fail to adapt yet again
England’s depth of batting talent and attacking approach will see them post big totals and execute tough chases more often than they collapse.
But they remain liable to be dismissed cheaply on tricky pitches because when they get into trouble they cannot adapt quickly enough to at least keep themselves in the game.
Here, once Joe Root had uppercut straight to third man and Alex Hales top-edged a cut shot to wicketkeeper Shai Hope, the tourists should have realised the dangers in taking on the short ball and been more selective with their strokes.
Instead, the next six wickets all fell to short-pitched balls, with Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes undone on the hook, Jos Buttler top-edging a pull shot, Moeen Ali pushing loosely away from his body to be caught behind and Adil Rashid fending one that rose sharply to Hope.
The average winning first-innings score at the Daren Sammy Stadium since the start of 2010 is just 262. Where England should have stopped attacking the short ball and tried to accumulate towards such a total, they kept on in a naive and reckless manner to give themselves next to no chance of victory.
Former captain Michael Vaughan said England needed to cut out such “moments of madness” if they are to win the World Cup this summer and this was perhaps their maddest batting moment as they compiled their lowest total in the format since the last tournament in 2015.
And while the pitches in England and Wales this summer will not be as bouncy as this, if Morgan’s side are beaten in the semi-final or final on a challenging surface of any kind, there will have been plenty of warning signs.
Impressive Windies rip into England
Gayle made a mockery of England’s struggles with the bat, hammering five fours and nine sixes in another breathtaking display of hitting – extending his record for the most sixes in a bilateral series, with 39.
England opening bowlers Woakes and Mark Wood did not bowl short enough to exploit the bounce as West Indies had done, allowing Gayle to quickly get set and duly whack anything, even when both did drop their lengths back.
Gayle even seemed on course to hit a century despite his team needing just 114, smacking two sixes, two fours and a six in five consecutive deliveries before he was bowled by Wood off the final ball of the eighth over.
Despite Woakes bowling Hope, West Indies continued to ease to their target, Shimron Hetmyer driving Tom Curran’s first ball down the ground for four to seal the win.
Earlier, 22-year-old fast bowler Thomas delivered the finest performance of his burgeoning career, rushing the batsmen with searing pace to induce miscued shots and ending the innings with a vicious yorker that bowled Curran.
Carlos Brathwaite was also impressive, using nagging accuracy instead of raw pace in taking 2-17 off eight overs, while Jason Holder found steepling bounce off a length to claim 2-28 and Sheldon Cottrell bowled Jonny Bairstow via an inside edge with a full, swinging ball.
West Indies, ranked ninth in the world, remain without an ODI series win since 2014 but a fine bowling attack and Gayle in full flow could see them surprise a lot of teams at the World Cup.
‘We can beat any team at the World Cup’ – reaction
West Indies captain Jason Holder, speaking to BBC Sport: “That was the perfect performance. All of the bowlers put in an outstanding effort. Oshane is an impact player for us and it’s good to see him make this breakthrough. He was quick, aggressive and consistent, and he caused trouble.
“It’s been a total team effort with the ball and then Chris stole the show at the end. Chris is a champion. It’s great to see him bow out in the Caribbean like this.
“We’re building something nicely as a group. We need to be more consistent now and string together more wins and win some series.”
West Indies opener Chris Gayle: “It’s been a fantastic series – to be able to tie it 2-2 is great. The bowlers deserve credit. Chasing a small target, you can be wary – I wanted to put them on the back foot early
“We will get some respect as a unit after this, going into the World Cup. We’re very capable of winning games in England and beating any particular team out there.”
England captain Eoin Morgan: “We struggled throughout the whole innings with the bat to deal with and adapt to conditions. Extra bounce is not something we come up against very often. West Indies forced us into a lot of errors today. It was pretty much a one-horse race.
“It is quite difficult to curb what has been a natural reaction for a couple of weeks. We need to get better when we come up against different conditions.
“You have to rock up in a good enough head space to adapt to any conditions. I would like to think we could learn from our mistakes and look forward rather than back.”
Radio 5 live’s Simon Mann in St Lucia
On days like these, it’s hard to believe England are World Cup favourites. Coach Trevor Bayliss described the performance as “terrible”.
This type of loss was not a one-off either. They suffered one of their heaviest defeats in the final match of the series in Sri Lanka last October and they conceded 371 runs in their defeat by Scotland in Edinburgh last summer.
They also lost 6-35 in the second game of this series in Barbados to succumb in a match they seemed to have in control.
England can be exciting to watch but they are fallible too.
In a way, it makes them even more interesting – you never know what’s going to happen next: one day their highest score against West Indies; the next, their lowest.
Here, they failed to adapt to a bouncy pitch and suffered an embarrassing defeat, The world’s number one team are not supposed to be thrashed inside 41 overs.
But what does a performance like this mean for England’s World Cup hopes?
Probably very little in the first part of the tournament.
The round-robin stage of the World Cup suits them. They can actually afford to have a couple of their poor days and still finish comfortably in the top four of the 10-team group.
The real test of their mettle will come if they have to adapt their aggressive game to deal with challenging conditions in a semi-final or final.