(AFP) — Joe Root scored his second century of the World Cup as England crushed the West Indies by eight wickets in Southampton on Friday with 16.5 overs to spare.
The host nation won the toss and made the most of favourable bowling conditions on a day when the rain finally relented, bowling the West Indies out for 212.
But by the time they came to bat the sun was out and tournament favourites England rarely looked troubled, with Root in particular timing the ball beautifully during his 100 not out.
Test captain Root opened alongside Jonny Bairstow in place of the injured Jason Roy, who had limped off the field with a tight hamstring during the West Indies innings.
“It’s obviously nice for this hundred to mean something and for us to win. It was a great toss to win and important we followed through on that,” Root said.
“You pride yourself on working it out as a batsman, building big partnerships either when setting or closing down a chase like we did today.
“It was a really good team effort and performance and puts us in a good place going into the next match.”
Root, who made 107 in England’s defeat against Pakistan, made batting look easy, scoring a run-a-ball 50 without having to take unnecessary risks as he and Bairstow tamed the West Indies quicks.
Shannon Gabriel had Bairstow caught by Carlos Brathwaite for 45, leaving England 95-1, but Chris Woakes was quickly into his stride, drilling a four back past Gabriel off his third ball.
With the end in sight, Woakes was dismissed for 40, caught by substitute Fabian Allen off the bowling of Gabriel.
Root reached three figures off 93 balls with 11 fours and is now the tournament’s top-scorer — with a total of 279 runs in four innings.
Frustrated West Indies captain Jason Holder said: “We didn’t put enough runs on the board. There were a few careless shots, if we had hung in a bit longer we could have got some more in the end.
“We need more ownership in the middle. Batters got out at crucial stages, we need to correct it. It’s happened twice in two games now.”
– Injury fears -Earlier, England contained the West Indies well but at a cost, with Roy and captain Eoin Morgan limping off the pitch.
Despite occasional flurries, the Caribbean side were never able to mount a sustained assault on England’s bowlers after Woakes and Jofra Archer conceded just eight runs off the first five overs of the match.
Fuelled by three wickets each for Archer and Mark Wood, England dismissed their opponents with more than five overs to spare.
Opener Chris Gayle, dropped early by Wood in the deep, briefly threatened, hitting Woakes for 10 in two balls, but was caught by Bairstow on the square-leg boundary for 36 off the bowling of Liam Plunkett.
Nicholas Pooran (63) and Hetmyer (39) combined to put on 89 runs for the fourth wicket before Root struck twice, holding on to catches off his own bowling to remove Hetmyer and Holder.
Morgan hobbled off the pitch in the 40th over, struggling to make his way up the pavilion steps and it was later confirmed he had suffered a back spasm.
“I’m a bit stiff and sore, had a bit of a back spasm which hasn’t settled down yet,” Morgan said.
“I get them two or three times a year and unfortunately it’s come now, hopefully it settles down in the next 48 hours.”
Wood finished with figures of 3-18, while Archer took 3-30.
England are now second in the World Cup table with three wins and one defeat, one point behind New Zealand, while the West Indies have won one, lost two and had one no result in their four matches.