Barbados, Feb 21: Chasing 361 even in this era of T20 is not easy, but on the back of Centuries from Root and Roy England chased the massive total and won the first match of series against West Indies.
Gayle took a long time to settle in the official start of his ODI swansong, having declared that he would retire from one-day cricket after the World Cup, starting in May.
After 14 overs, Gayle had just 12 runs off 36 balls; by end of the 35th, he had faced 100 deliveries for his century. His penchant for clearing the boundary, when it finally came out of hiding, carried him to 135 off 129 balls but also caught on with his team-mates, who added 11 of their own for a world record 23 sixes in West Indies' total of 360 for 8.
After the 10-over Powerplay, however, Roy and Jonny Bairstow had steered England to 88 for 0, well ahead of West Indies' 49 for 1 at the same stage. Bairstow's dismissal, top-edging Holder to wicketkeeper Shai Hope after he had scored 34 off 33 balls, barely registered as a blip.
Root, who like Roy had scored a century in Sunday's warm-up match against West Indies University Vice-Chancellor's XI, slotted in and the batsmen continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Root brought up 5000 ODI runs - becoming the fourth Englishman to do so - when he pulled a 149kph Oshane Thomas delivery for four.
Roy brought up his ton with a crunching six straight back down the ground off Ashley Nurse. He hit another six in the same over and was dropped in the next by debutant Nicholas Pooran off Devendra Bishoo before surviving a stumping chance in an eventful passage of play. He was eventually out edging Bishoo to a diving Darren Bravo at short third man.
Eoin Morgan contributed 65 runs off 51 deliveries before spooning Thomas to Holder at mid-off and, with Root and Ben Stokes at the crease, England needed 36 runs off 36 balls.
Root brought up his ton with a four off Holder but he was out two balls later, caught at deep square leg off a full toss with the scores level. Needing one run off nine balls, Jos Buttler hit a four and England registered the third-highest successful chase in ODI
Gayle initially took a back seat to debutant John Campbell, who compiled a handy cameo of 30 off 28, and he should have been dismissed on 9 when a miscue off Liam Plunkett sailed to point, where Roy dropped a dolly of a catch. Gayle finally looked like hitting his stride shortly after receiving his second chance, smashing Moeen Ali down the ground for six, his 477th in international cricket to pass Shahid Afridi at the top of the list.
The second ODI of the series will be played on 22Feb.