(Photo: Getty Images)
By Adam Ellis
Sam Hain’s 144 on debut for the England Lions was not enough to see them avoid defeat in the first one-day match against West Indies A, who claimed victory by five runs in Antigua.
The result means West Indies A take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and yet the hosts were made to wait for a victory that looked assured as Hain and Matt Parkinson put up a fight for the last wicket.
Chasing 273 to win, Middlesex’s Nick Gubbins and Lancashire’s Alex Davies opened for the Lions and showed attacking intent from the off with Gubbins striking three boundaries from Raymon Reifer’s opening over.
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He returned to claim the wicket of Davies for 6 to bring Hain to the crease, where he and Gubbins would play their way to the only meaningful scores made by England’s batsman.
Through fine strokeplay Gubbins scored nine boundaries on his way to 54, getting out shortly after bringing up a 50-partnership with Hain by top-edging Rahkeem Cornwall delivery to short fine-leg.
At 83-2, the Lions’ hope of victory would be devastated from an over by Keemo Paul that saw the loss of Sam Northeast, captain Keaton Jennings and Sam Curran for just one run.
Paul then claimed the wickets of Paul Coughlin and later in the innings Richard Gleeson to claim 5-49.
All the while Hain occupied the crease, scoring runs for fun on his debut and giving the tourists an outside shot at victory needing 30 to win off the last three overs.
Together, no.10 batsman Gleeson and no.11 Parkinson provided support acts for Hain to bring up his hundred off 94 deliveries.
A miraculous win looked possible when Hain brought up the 100-partnership with Parkinson in the 49th over, leaving 8 runs to win off the final over.