Lancashire’s Jos Buttler was left breathless by a special day of cricket in Grenada, where England beat the West Indies in an unforgettable fourth one-day international.
Buttler struck a career-high 150, his last hundred runs taking just 31 deliveries, as England posted a massive 418 for six only for the hosts to embark on a remarkable response.
Chris Gayle led the way with a care-free classic, reeling off 162 in 97 balls, and the Windies were on target to complete the second highest chase in history for large periods.
A day of batting heroics, which saw a record 46 sixes and 737 runs in all, then ended with a bowler on top.
Adil Rashid, called on to bowl the 48th over of as the game hung in the balance, provided an astonishing denouement as he took four wickets in five balls to wrap up a 29-run win.
Buttler, fresh from England’s celebrations, said: “It’s hectic just trying to catch your breath, that was an unbelievable game of cricket.
“They were going to win, which was crazy chasing 419, but we showed lots of character to come through.
“We juggled our bowlers a lot and for Rash to bowl that over at that time was special.
“We just needed wickets, all the time, and I really like that Adil wants the ball in those situations.”
Buttler’s own contribution, a 77-ball treat that saw him clear the ropes a dozen times and accelerate mercilessly as he and Eoin Morgan (103) added 154 in the final 10 overs, earned him man-of-the-match honours.
Gayle would have been an equally apt choice, while Rashid’s late intervention and Mark Wood’s impressive haul of four for 60 also played critical roles in the day’s entertainment.
“It was right up there,” he said. “It was a really, really special day and I’m really enjoying it.”
Morgan, whose 11th one-day hundred would have been the headline attraction on many other days, was taken aback at the ferocity of the contest, which ended with England taking a 2-1 series lead with one to play.
“That’s as tough a day as we’ve ever had – nearly 100 overs of a pure, intense, crazy type of cricket,” he said.
“It’s been a long old day and a very intense day. It’s something that we’ve never come up against before. The West Indies are a lot stronger side than the rankings suggests so it’s been a great challenge for us.
“To post over 400 is a real feather in our cap but the West Indies really went toe to toe with us today.”
Gayle recently announced he would retire from 50-over cricket after this summer’s World Cup but after hitting 347 in his three innings against England, including 30 sixes, he hinted at a U-turn.
That can probably be put down to hubris and the afterglow of another fine ton, but the 39-year-old said: “I just have to work on the body and then maybe you can see a bit more Chris Gayle.
“You never know. Things change quickly. Hopefully, the body can change in the next couple of months and we can see what happens. I’m nearly 40, so we’ll see and we’ll take it slowly.”