But when the veteran opener, who missed the rainswept no-result in the second ODI at Trent Bridge on Thursday with a hamstring injury suffered warming up on his 38th birthday, was run out the tourists’ hopes of winning disappeared.
As if the pre-arranged distraction of England’s Ashes squad announcement wasn’t enough to be taking in, there was also the fall-out from Ben Stokes’ antics in Bristol in the early hours of Monday morning.
Removed in an uncharacteristic manner for the style of his innings, edging behind to Hope after attempting to deftly run an Alzarri Joseph (5-56) ball down to third man, Roy produced his highest ODI score of the year to provide the selectors with a headache for Hales’ return to selection for the Friday’s final game of the series.
Stokes has been selected for the tour despite his arrest earlier this week.
But Lewis and Jason Mohammed led the recovery, the latter benefiting from Eoin Morgan’s failure to hold a fierce drive on nine.
The 26-year-old remains under investigation after being released without charge. That Lewis-Holder stand was West Indies’ best for the fifth wicket in ODIs.
Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali helped England pull off a remarkable Duckworth-Lewis victory in the fourth one-day worldwide against West Indies to settle this one-day series with a game to spare. He mishit a delivery from Jake Ball into his own ankle and, grimacing in pain, slumped to his knees.
Defeat in the series opener meant World Twenty20 champions West Indies could no longer qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Britain and coach Stuart Law said before this fixture he wanted to see set batsmen go on deep into the innings.
Jason Mohammed came to the crease and a period of consolidation was broken, when Gayle hit Ali’s uncomplicated off-spin for three successive sixes in the 23rd over.
West Indies have made one change to the side that battled valiantly at Bristol until being derailed by Moeen Ali’s pyrotechnics.
Ali and Buttler turned that around in the space of just eight overs, with Ali smacking six fours and two sixes and ensuring England will have a victorious end to its summer despite the absence of Stokes.