Chris Gayle bombarded England with sixes on his West Indies return, clearing the ropes 12 times on his way to 135 as the hosts set a target of 361 in the first ODI in Barbados.
But that wasn’t enough to stop the tourists, who cruised to a six-wicket victory – setting a new record – behind twin tons from Jason Roy and Joe Root.
The 39-year-old Gayle, ending a six-month exile from ODI cricket, repeatedly heaved the visiting attack into the leg-side to bring up a 24th century in the format.
The left-hander’s brutal hitting carried his side to 8-360, their biggest total on home soil and best against England.
With 23 maximums in the innings it was also a world record, beating the 22 the Windies conceded to New Zealand in 2014.
The fans' view of the moment @HenryGayle completed his century in Barbados – Windies are on for a big total!
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) February 20, 2019
Gayle reasserted his claim to be the “Universe Boss” in a pre-series press appearance but, after being dropped on nine by Jason Roy, he let actions speak louder than words.
After a ponderous start he scored his first 50 in 76 deliveries but taking just 24 balls for his next 50 runs.
Along the way he overtook Shahid Afridi’s mark of 476 to make him the most prolific six-hitter in international cricket and leapfrogged Brian Lara as the top one-day run-scorer at the venue.
It fell to Ben Stokes to see off the veteran, but not until the 47th over, the England all-rounder finishing with 3-37.
Shai Hope made 64 and Adil Rashid’s leg-spin also yielded three scalps but their efforts were shunted to the margins by Gayle’s comeback ton.
Ashley Nurse hit the record-breaking 23rd six off the final ball of the innings, his third in an eight-ball cameo that yielded 25 not out.
Gayle’s ton fails to stop England
On a pitch that made it easy for the batsmen to pick and choose what they wanted to do, England were ahead of the West Indies for just about the entire chase.
Roy hit 123 runs off 85 balls – his seventh ODI century – but in contrast to Gayle’s 12 sixes and three fours, the Englishman recorded 15 boundaries and three sixes.
Roy was later named man of the match for his contribution to the win.
Root arrived at the crease when Jonny Bairstow (34) was the first man to fall, and the Test captain drove the ball around the ground for a breezy ton off 96 balls.
It was the 28-year-old’s 14th century in ODI cricket, and a confusing sequence saw Root end without red ink.
He was caught near the boundary going for the winning runs but the delivery was reviewed for a waist-high no ball, with the third umpire letting the dismissal stand.
The wicket was no issue for England, who finished on 4-364 to complete their highest successful run chase in ODI cricket.
The innings bested the 350 they made to beat New Zealand in June 2015.
England will look to go 2-0 up in the five-match series when the teams meet again on Saturday.