Pakistan vs England
So that's it for game three of this series in Dubai - England have won at a canter, Kevin Pietersen the star turn with 111 not out, his first ODI ton since November 2008. Cook also played his part in a superb opening stand of 170, while Morgan enjoyed some useful time in the middle towards the end. However, let's not forget the part of the bowlers earlier in the day, Finn once again the leading light as Pakistan were held to 222. Thanks for your company today, please join us again on Tuesday for the final match of this one-day series.
Over 38: Cheema 0-4
226-1 - Fittingly it's Pietersen who hits the winning runs, a mistake by the cover fielder allowing a well-hit drive to go through him and away for four runs. Not only have England won this match by the small margin of nine wickets with 76 balls to spare, they've also wrapped up the series with a game to go.
Over 37: Afridi 1-0-4-0-2-4
218-1 - Morgan hurries England towards the finishing line, driving gloriously through the covers for four and then lifting Afridi with ease back over his head, the straight hit beating both men out in the deep. It's a single to seal a 3-0 series lead for the tourists, who on Earth expected this a week ago?
Over 36: Cheema 1-0-0-2-4-1
211-1 - After two dot balls Pietersen finally gets through to his eighth ODI century with a typical flick off his hip for a couple of runs. It's his first ton against Pakistan in 50-over cricket and his first for England since November 2008. He celebrates the milestone with a dimissive slap down the ground for four. A single off the last to third man means he keeps the strike, England now needing just another 12.
Over 35: Afridi 4-0-0-1-0-1
203-1 - Pietersen gets four with a lovely back-foot cut that goes in between the men at mid-off and cover. A single down the ground takes him along to 99, though he'll have to wait a little for his chance to get to three figures as Morgan has stolen the strike with a run from the final delivery of the Afridi over. The fat lady is warmed up and ready to come on stage...
Over 34: Cheema 0-0-0-0-2-0
197-1 - England take the batting powerplay, resulting in Morgan hitting the majority of the deliveries in Cheema's over straight to fielders. He does manage to pull away a couple of runs, leaving England requiring a further 26. Pietersen, however, needs just six more for a long-awaited one-day century.
Over 33: Ajmal 1-0-0-0-1-2
195-1 - DROPPED! Ajmal sees a chance go down off his bowling, wicketkeeper Akmal spilling a relatively routine outside edge from Morgan's blade. Pietersen also twice gets away with thick outside edges, the spinner simply having no luck today. He's finished his work, figures of 10-1-40-1 being quite impressive considering the efforts of his colleagues. England need another 28 to win this match and the series.
Over 32: Gul 0-4-0-0-4-1
191-1 - Pietersen picks up a pair of boundaries during the over, albeit in rather differing circumstances. The first comes courtesy of a thick edge that goes right where a slip would have been. The second, however, is a glorious cover drive on the up, resulting in one of my colleagues suggesting it was 'Lancaster-eque'. It was good but I'm pretty sure I've hit better, though perhaps not off a bowler quite so quick as Umar Gul.
Over 31: Ajmal 0-6-2-0-0-0
182-1 - Morgan shows he's not come out to win this games in singles and twos, thumping Ajmal for a huge six over long-on. He then sweeps the next ball out for a couple, though he has to get a move on after calling KP through for a second run. What England's efforts here in their run chase have proven is that 270-280 was a par score on this true surface.
Over 30: Gul 2-1-0-0-0-1
174-1 - Nasser Hussain on commentary duty makes a good point about Morgan's rather flamboyant trigger movement. While it's always looked a little outrageous, it does seem in this series that the left-hander is stooping down even lower as he prepares to face. Of course, such things creep into your game when you're struggling for runs, because you start thinking too much about all the little bits of your technique. Anyways, he's off the mark with a single off the final ball, meaning he will be on strike after DRINKS.
Over 29: Ajmal 0-W-0-0-0-0
170-1 - WICKET! - Cook's seemingly serene journey to yet another century comes to a rather abrupt end, Ajmal getting one to turn enough to flick the outside edge. Pakistan congratulate the bowler but they know it's too little too late in terms of this match, as well as the series. What a shame for the England skipper, he just never looked like getting out up until that point. There's a bit of a surprise at three as Eoin Morgan comes out instead of Jonathan Trott. He sees out a wicket maiden, meaning England still need another 53.
Over 28: Gul 1-0nb-4-0-0-0-1
170-0 - Another no ball from Gul, whose having more problems with his feet than when the Elephant Man tried to buy a pair of shoes. Cook capitalises on another free hit, stepping back to slam a short delivery away for four well in front of square. Another seven come from an over from Gul, leaving his figures at 5-0-45-0. Perhaps he's thinking of becoming a batting all-rounder after his efforts with the willow earlier in the day.
Over 27: Ajmal 2-1-1-2w-0-1-0
163-0 - Now the most interesting thing about this match is the race to three figures. There's no doubt Pietersen intends to get there rather faster than Cook, though as well know the tortoise still beat the hare. Either way, there's plenty of time for them both to get the runs they require. There'd be nothing worse than Cook left high and dry on 90 not out when he could create a bit of history with a third straight ODI ton.
Over 26: Afridi 2-2-1-0-1-0
155-0 - An easy six off the over for England's opening pair, the first two runs bought up the 150 with the last half-century coming from 52 deliveries. England now need another 68 and there are still another 24 overs remaining.
Over 25: Gul 1-4-1-1-0-4
149-0 - Pietersen is on the charge now, flicking four wide of long-on with ease and then finishing the Gul over with a superb drive on the up, sending the ball past mid-off for another boundary. This is now the record opening stand for England against Pakistan, beating the 147 that Robin Smith and Mike Atherton managed in Karachi back in 1996.
Over 24: Afridi 1-1-1-1-0-1
138-0 - Singles come with ease as this partnership keeps pushing England along to an emphatic victory. Pakistan are perhaps going to try and do something about that now, bringing back Umar Gul. He can't do any worse than his first spell - his opening three overs cost him the small matter of 28 runs.
Over 23: Hafeez 4-1-1-0-1-6
133-0 - Pietersen brings up 4,000 runs in ODI cricket in fine style, lamping Hafeez's off-spin straight down the ground for his second six of the day. He only needed one to reach the milestone, but where would be the fun in doing it with a single? With Cook having pulled away the first ball of the over for four, England now need only another 90 for victory in Dubai.
Over 22: Afridi 0-1-0-0-0-1
120-0 - Pakistan have two choices here - either die a slow, painful death with the fielders all spread across this lovely outfield, or bring men in, try to take some wickets and see if they can put some pressure on England. Having watched Misbah captain his team throughout this tour, I'd reckon he's thinking the former - I can only think he enjoys suffering.
Over 21: Hafeez 1-0-0-1-0-0
118-0 - This is Pietersen's second 50 in his last 12 one-day innings, the last one coming in Mohali during the series against India at the end of 2011. Have to say I like him in this role at the top of the order, he compliments Cook nicely and, when he gets a surface like this, can be dangerous during that first powerplay.
Over 20: Ajmal 2-0-3-0-1-0
116-0 - Pietersen flamboyantly goes to his 50 with a pair of runs flicked over the top of the keeper with a paddle-sweep. It's his 24th ODI half-century and a very timely one too, considering he laboured badly in his role at the top of the order in Abu Dhabi. The pitches there were low and slow however, here in Dubai he's looked much better with the extra pace and bounce. That's the end of the bowling powerplay - England picked up 27 without loss in the five-over period.
- 18th Feb 2012
- Dubai International Stadium
- Aleem Dar and S J A Taufel
england BATTING CARD
|Cook||c Adnan Akmal b Ajmal||80|
|Extras||4nb, 4w, 3lb||11|
|Total||Close, 37.2 Overs||226 - 1|