England make history

England v West Indies
Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff celebrates one of his five scalps after overseeing England's win

Andrew Flintoff's dramatic hat-trick helped him to career-best figures and topped off a superb England performance as Andrew Strauss' side captured an historic first one-day series win in West Indies.

Flintoff picked up the wickets of Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul and Sulieman Benn in consecutive balls to end with exemplary figures of 5-19 and seal a memorable series-clinching victory at the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia.

Kevin Pietersen's run-a-ball 48 initially underpinned the tourists' batting performance as they reached 172 for five from their rain-reduced allocation of 29 overs.

Ravi Bopara (44), along with Matt Prior (25 not out) and Paul Collingwood (35no), also made commendable contributions on a sluggish, two-paced pitch.

Flintoff and a disciplined England bowling unit then restricted the home side to 146 all out as they sealed a significant 3-2 series victory over Chris Gayle's side.

At the start of a fifth ODI interrupted by showers in the early morning, Strauss was asked to bat first in sultry conditions after he called incorrectly at the toss.

The skipper was then quickly dismissed for three after he miscued a pull from Rampaul's first ball that lobbed straight to Dwayne Bravo at square-leg.

Pietersen, who came in ahead of Owais Shah at number three, immediately looked to add impetus to England's innings as he announced himself with a brace of drilled boundaries off Fidel Edwards.

Bopara also looked in good touch, finding the rope with two authoritative square cuts before Pietersen cleanly despatched the final ball of the eighth over back past bowler Rampaul's head for his only maximum.

As England looked to press on after sailing past the 50 mark Bopara lifted Darren Sammy high over square-leg for six before Pietersen chopped the first ball of Sulieman Benn's following over for four through point.

The shot proved the downfall of the Hampshire batsman when he was caught by Sammy at gully attempting to repeat the stroke in Benn`s following over.

Danesh Ramdin & Ravi Bopara

Ravi Bopara hoists Darren Sammy for one of his two sixes during an impressive knock for England

Pietersen's departure failed to deter Bopara, who larruped his second six from Sammy's next over high into the crowd at square leg.

The right-hander fell shortly afterwards though as he sent an ill-advised swipe off Pollard high and into the gloves of Ramdin, with Shah departing in the following over when he picked out Lendl Simmons at long-on off Benn.

England's innings suffered another setback when they lost their third wicket in the space of 17 balls as Flintoff chipped Pollard into Shivnarine Chanderpaul`s hands at midwicket.

Collingwood and Prior both looked tentative as they sought to up the run-rate. However, the former found the rope from the first ball of the batting powerplay when he lashed Pollard for four behind square. A further six more followed moments later as he found enough carry to clear square leg.

Prior initially struggled for timing on the sluggish surface but cracked a series of late boundaries, with Collingwood also finding the rope regularly to help England to a commendable total.

A rapid turnaround seemingly helped England as James Anderson sent back the perennially dangerous Gayle early on for nought with a textbook outswinger that ended in Flintoff`s hands at slip.

Andrew Strauss, Andrew Flintoff & Paul Collingwood

Flintoff is joined by his England team mates as the celebrations begin

Ramnaresh Sarwan looked in good touch and punctured Stuart Broad's figures with back-to-back boundaries as he set about climbing into England's total. But the Guyanese batsman fell for 23 when, having lined up a full-blooded cut at a short ball from Flintoff, he succeeded only in feathering a catch through to Prior.

Simmons (17) then fell victim to a sustained spell of hostile bowling from Flintoff as he eventually succumbed by spooning a simple catch to Broad at mid-on.

Amid Flintoff's stirling spell Chanderpaul and Bravo set about rescuing the home side`s hopes, with the former heaving Steve Harmison through the leg side to open his boundary account.

A watchful Bravo majestically chipped Dimitri Mascarenhas over cover for the innings' first six, although West Indies suffered suffered a huge setback in the following over when Chanderpaul's sweep off Collingwood found substitute Ian Bell in the deep for 13.

Pollard stated his intentions by hacking Collingwood over Pietersen at long on for six, with the batsman also smiting Broad over cover for a maximum during the final batting powerplay.

Broad struck with a vital blow to end Bravo's resistance for 33 by having him caught by Flintoff at point, with Anderson then ending Pollard's vigil thanks to a catch in the deep.

It left West Indies facing an impossible task, and Flintoff duly showed his class to bowl Ramdin. A sharp full ball then did for Rampaul, while Benn was also cleaned up by a ruthless yorker to complete the hat-trick.

Finally, Sammy was run out to spark jubilant scenes among the England fans.

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