Sam Hain smashes 144 in Lions defeat
England fall just short in first of five-match series against West Indies A
Sam Hain scored a brilliant 144 on debut, but the Lions fell agonisingly short in their run chase, losing the opening one-day match of the series by five runs against West Indies A at the Coolidge Stadium.
Requiring six to win, Hain was caught well by Raymon Reifer on the boundary and the home side had finally broken a 102-run final wicket partnership that had taken the tourists to the brink of a remarkable victory.
Jermaine Blackwood hit 99 for the home side to help set a total of 272 that finally proved beyond the Warwickshire man and his side, and seamer Keemo Paul ripped through the middle order with a five-wicket haul.
The Lions were ultimately left to rue a three over period in which four wickets were lost to Paul, with Nick Gubbins' 57 proving to be the only other considerable contribution from the Lions batting line up.
Earlier in the day, West Indies A Opening batsman Chandrapaul Hemraj retired not out without facing a ball, having appeared to slip and hurt his back in the first over.
That brought Blackwood to the crease and he joined Kieran Powell who hit Sam Curran for three boundaries in the same over and raced onto 16.
Paul Coughlin replaced Curran and was met with back-to-back fours from Blackwood which helped the hosts bring up their 50, in just the seventh over.
Blackwood fell one short of his hundred
The Nottinghamshire all-rounder responded, as Powell drove on the up to Keaton Jennings at short cover and departed for 24.
Roston Chase came and went first-ball as the same man found the edge of his bat and Alex Davies took a stunning full stretch diving catch behind the stumps.
Andre McCarthy and Blackwood then steadied the ship and combined patient accumulation with the ability to punish any loose delivery from the Lions.
They put on 44, but Gleeson returned and McCarthy could only proceed in top-edging the bowler's first delivery to Curran at mid-on and departed for 33.
Rahkeem Cornwall joined Blackwood and he made his presence felt when launching Dom Bess for six into the swimming pool and the 50 partnership between the two came up off just 47 balls.
Opener Blackwood then brought up his own 50, with a sumptuous straight drive for four off Parkinson. His half-century came from 77 balls and included five fours.
Two balls later, Matt Parkinson got the wicket he deserved and it was the big one of Cornwall. The burly all-rounder tried to slog-sweep the Lancashire leg-spinner, but dragged his foot out of the crease and was sharply stumped by Davies for 44.
Jahmar Hamilton departed, as Coughlin atoned for an earlier error taking a good diving catch at deep square-leg.
Blackwood then eventually fell on 99, as the impressive Parkinson had him caught at short cover by Jennings. But, he had played the substantial innings required to help set a demanding total.
Davies then produced another piece of brilliance as he picked up the ball sharply and ran Reifer out at the bowler's end.
Paul in action for Guyana Amazon Warriors
Keemo Paul scored nine quickly, but tried to continue the late onslaught against Gleeson and could only find Sam Northeast on the long-off boundary.
Hemraj returned following his earlier retirement, and aimed to finish the innings with some lusty blows but found Bess on the rope and departed for 12. Warrican was then run out on the penultimate ball of the innings after more good work from Bess and Davies, to leave the Lions requiring 273 to win.
Gubbins and Davies opened for the visitors and the former announced his arrival with three boundaries from Reifer's opening over.
Davies struggled to get going and after upper cutting Odean Smith for four, he mistimed a pull and was caught at mid-on for six.
Gubbins continued to score freely and hit Smith for six, but was then dropped by substitute fielder, Kavem Hodge, on the boundary, playing the same pull shot.
Hain joined the Middlesex batsman and got off the mark with a delightful pull for four, that was to be a sign of things to come.
Gubbins then brought up his 50 with a single to cover, and the 50 partnership between the two followed soon after.
The 24-year-old fell for 54 in the following over though, after top-edging a half-tracker from Cornwall straight to Smith at short fine-leg.
Northeast came and went after he was trapped LBW by Paul for 1 and the Captain Jennings went in the same fashion, first ball.
Curran saw out the hat-trick ball, but went to the next delivery top edging a pull shot straight up in the air. Paul had taken three wickets in four balls and the Lions had fallen from 83/1 to 87/5.
He didn't stop there. In his next over he cleaned bowled Coughlin for three and the Lions were six wickets down still requiring 180 to win.
Hain hit 144 from 122 deliveries
Matt Critchley joined Hain and scored nine before edging Smith to Hamilton behind the stumps, and Dom Bess followed, being caught in the deep off the bowling of Cornwall.
Hain had batted beautifully, and brought up his 50 off 56 balls with a lovely straight drive for four off the bowling of Paul.
Paul picked up a deserved fifth wicket after clean bowling Gleeson, but Parkinson supported Hain well and kept the West Indies A seamers at bay.
The Warwickshire man took the majority of the strike and played an intelligent innings of brutal hitting that saw him reach 93 with a huge six off Chase.
A two off Smith saw him bring up a hundred off 94 balls, with the innings including nine fours and three sixes.
The Lions would not give in and the final wicket pair reached the 50-run partnership leaving them with an achievable 45 to win in five overs.
Hain continued his brutal onslaught and brought his team to within 30 runs of victory with three overs remaining. He started the 48th over with a six off Chase to bring the 250 up for his side. The off-spinner finished the over well though and left the Lions still requiring 21 from 12 balls.
The 100 partnership came up in a good 49th over and a boundary from Hain left them needing eight from the final six balls.
Hain was on strike and took a single from the first ball. The dependable Parkinson then chipped the bowler for a single to bring Hain back on strike with six required.
Unfortunately, Hain could only find Reifer on the long-on boundary and that left the Lions just short of an amazing victory, which Hain's knock arguably deserved.