Strauss levels Windies series
Captain strikes an unbeaten 79 as England seal a much-needed victory.
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2009 23:39 GMT

Thank goodness for the rain [GALLO/GETTY]
England powered to a nine-wicket victory in the fourth one-day international against West Indies thanks to a determined innings from captain Andrew Strauss.

In a rain-affected match in Barbados, England were set a revised target of 135 to win in 20 overs and they were always ahead of the run rate with Strauss finishing undefeated on 79.

Strauss hit his ninth four in the penultimate over to level the series at 2-2 with one match to play.

It was a rare moment of satisfaction for England on a difficult tour which resulted in defeat in the Test series and a humiliating hammering in the third one-dayer on Friday when they were bowled out for 117 on the same ground.

Dwayne Bravo top-scored for the West Indies with 69 as they posted 239 for nine in their 50 overs before a long rain delay meant a re-calculation using the Duckworth-Lewis system.

Strauss set about the modest-looking target with a flurry of boundaries.

He cut loose in the third over, hitting four consecutive boundaries off Lionel Baker.

Bopara support

With Ravi Bopara supporting well, England reached 50 in 5.2 overs before Strauss had a stroke of luck when the third umpire deemed that his edge off of Kieron Pollard had not carried to keeper Denesh Ramdin.

Television replays were inconclusive.

Fourth ODI scorecard
West Indies innings
C Gayle c Prior b Broad 46
L Simmons run out 29
R Sarwan b Flintoff 6
S Chanderpaul c Prior b Mascarenhas 27
D Ramdin c Flintoff b Mascarenhas 26
D Bravo c sub b Broad 69
K Pollard c Flintoff b Mascarenhas 0
D Sammy b Broad 6
N Miller not out 10
F Edwards c Collingwood b Anderson 0
L Baker not out 11
Extras 9
Total (nine wickets; 50 overs) 239
Fall of wickets: 1-72 2-76 3-83 4-126 5-143 6-145 7-173 8-224 9-225

England innings
A Strauss not out 79
R Bopara c Miller b Pollard 35
M Prior not out 14
Extras 8
Total (one wicket; 18.3 overs) 136
Fall of wicket: 1-108
Pollard finally had Bopara caught on the boundary for 35 but with Strauss revelling under the lights the result was already a foregone conclusion.

Earlier, West Indies skipper Chris Gayle had given his side a great start, smashing five sixes in a quickfire 47 before taking a huge heave at a short delivery from Stuart Broad and sending a steepling catch to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Lendl Simmons followed in the next over when he was run out and Dmitri Mascheranas took three for 26 in the middle order as West Indies lost their way.

Bravo steadied the ship with his 69 off just 72 balls to take the hosts past 200 before he was caught on the boundary by substitute fielder Ian Bell, on for Kevin Pietersen who went off with a back spasm after bowling just five balls.

Umpire Steve Bucknor was given a standing ovation at the end after officiating in the final match of a career that has spanned two decades and included 128 Tests and 181 one-day internationals.

The series will be decided in St Lucia on Friday.

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