August 28, 2016 12:38:27 am
England rode half-centuries by Joe Root and captain Eoin Morgan to beat Pakistan by four wickets in the second one-day international and take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series on Saturday.
Root hit 89 and Morgan 68 in England’s chase, which finished on 255-6 in the 48th over and overshadowed Sarfraz Ahmed’s career-best 105 for Pakistan.
Root featured in two productive stands, adding 112 with Morgan and 56 with Ben Stokes (42), before falling late.
Earlier, Ahmed’s second century in ODIs lifted Pakistan to 251 after they lost three wickets for just two runs inside the first four overs.
Imad Wasim (63) was one of only four Pakistan batsmen to reach double figures, as Chris Woakes (3-42) and Mark Wood (3-46) shared six wickets.
“A clinical performance all round,” Morgan said. “Got the ball talking in the first four overs, and that was an awesome way to start. The guys we’ve selected are different; we’ve got pace, control, and guys who turn the ball.”
Earlier, Woakes and Wood destroyed Pakistan’s top order after captain Azhar Ali won the toss and opted to bat. Ahmed rebuilt the innings with the middle order.
Opening batsman Sami Aslam (1), one of three changes Pakistan made from the defeat at Southampton, was adjudged caught behind off Woakes by third umpire Simon Fry when he attempted a pull shot. Sharjeel Khan’s (0) off stump was knocked back by Wood off a delivery which just moved away enough from the left-hander, and Woakes then found a thick edge off Azhar’s (0) bat.
“The guys worked hard and kept fighting, and Sarfraz’s hundred was one of the best innings I’ve seen from him,” Azhar said.
“We could have made 300 on this pitch, but after losing those three wickets, we’d have taken 250. We have the capability but we need to apply ourselves.”
Ahmed steadied the innings with some superb running between the wickets, and contributed half-century stands with Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik before Wasim joined him in the 27th over at 125-5 and raised another productive 77-run stand.
Ahmed completed his century when he deflected Liam Plunkett to the fine leg boundary and got a reprieve in the same over when he was adjudged lbw. However, he lasted not much longer as he swept hard at Adil Rashid and holed out at deep midwicket.
England had early jitters when Mohammad Amir clean-bowled Jason Roy off his second delivery and Alex Hales was dismissed by Wasim in his first over to be 35-2.
But Root and Morgan combined in a century stand, and Stokes’ quickfire 42 took the game away from Pakistan.
Root departed with England needing only 12 for victory as he got a leading edge off Wahab Riaz. Woakes raised the victory with a winning boundary off legspinner Yasir Shah.
Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board said fast bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson would take no further part in the English county season as they rest injuries. Broad has an ankle problem and Anderson requires rehabilitation on his right shoulder to get fit for the test tours to Bangladesh and India.
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