But having chased down 361 at the Kensington Oval on Wednesday, England would have been confident of extending their lead in the series.
The tourists were given a strong platform as captain Eoin Morgan made 70 and they needed 62 to win from 61 balls with six wickets remaining before West Indies skipper Jason Holder removed Ben Stokes (79), Jos Buttler (34) and Tom Curran — the latter with a questionable lbw decision after England had used their reviews.
Left-arm seamer Sheldon Cottrell returned to the attack and won the game with the wickets of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid — and he celebrated with his trademark military salute.
Cottrell, a Jamaican Defence Force soldier brought into the side as an extra bowler, ended with his career-best ODI figures of 5-46.
Carlos Brathwaite got the final wicket when Liam Plunkett holed out to Holder at long-off and England were dismissed for 263 in 47.4 overs to the delight of the Kensington Oval crowd.
Holder was quick to praise his key men.
«I am really pleased, credit to Hetty (Hetmeyr), he set it up on a sticky wicket, and credit for the way we defended it, led by Sheldon Cottrell,» he said.
Morgan felt his team should have done better
«A game is never won until right at the end… We made mistakes and it hurt us, and West Indies deserved to win,» he said.