- England beat West Indies by six wickets to set up a deciding match in Barbados
- Liam Livingstone played a key role in Wednesday’s win to level up the series
- He admitted that it was ‘as big an impact’ he has had on a game for England
It says as much about Liam Livingstone’s improvement as a bowler as a decline as a power-hitting match winner that he is England’s senior spinner in this ongoing one-day series against West Indies.
Livingstone, now 30, has responded positively to the increased responsibility with the ball, playing a key role in the six-wicket win on Wednesday evening that squared things at 1-1 and sent the two teams into a decider here in Barbados on Saturday.
West Indies’ century stand between captain Shai Hope and Sherfane Rutherford, following the loss of four new-ball wickets, threatened to swing the contest’ momentum back towards the hosts in the second match in Antigua, but the Lancashire all-rounder dismissed both set batsmen in quick succession and finished with only his second three-wicket haul in ODIs.
Of his display, Livingstone said: ‘It’s a funny one, it’s probably not the best I’ve bowled for England no, but it is probably as big an impact as I have had on a game.
’It’s something I’ve worked on for a number of years. For this sort of scenario. To be able to give Jos (Buttler) different options. I guess the most pleasing thing for me now is I feel like I can bowl in a number of different situations and scenarios.’
Liam Livingstone insisted his three-wicket haul was perhaps his biggest impact in a game
England beat West Indies by six wickets to set up a deciding match in Barbados on Saturday
However, a player who once courted selection for the damage he could do with the bat towards the top of the order is now languishing at number seven, between captain Buttler and England’s new vice-captain in 50-over cricket, Sam Curran.
Like Buttler, Livingstone arrived in the Caribbean devoid of form and although he launched a couple of sixes in the opening match, another sub-20 dismissal took his overall tally of runs to 116 in nine innings.
But ahead of the floodlit finale at the Kensington Oval, he said: ‘I guess the way I play my cricket, I always try to do what’s best for the team, try to contribute to England winning games.
‘I haven’t been able to do that for a couple of months with the bat, and hopefully that’s going to change at some point. I know it’s going to change. I have the belief in my own ability and I think we’ve seen with Jos, you’re only ever a couple of shots away from getting going.
‘It only takes one innings to change it around, and I’m sure when it does, I’ll look back on this time in my career as something that was a massive learning curve for me.’