Abu Dhabi – It was constant exposing of tail ender Abdul Rehman to the England blowing attack during the most important overs of the inning, where captain Misbah ul Haq could have easily keep the strike and the second mistake of promoting Rehman over hard hitting Umer Gul in the batting order helped immensely England to win second ODI, here at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, while Pakistan was very much in position to win the game easily till the 40th over.
Misbah kept taking single on the just second ball for consecutive two overs, exposing Rehman to England pacers for the rest of the over which eventually ended in round nine dot balls and wicket of Abdul Rehman.
Pakistan's top order gave a better display in their second attempt to chase under lights in Abu Dhabi but stuttered after a good opening partnership to reach 108 for 3 after 25 overs. Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Farhat added a steady 61 for the first wicket but the run out of Farhat and key dismissal of Younis Khan titled the balance England's way.
Pakistan have a lengthy tail in this match so removing Younis for 5 was a significant moment and reward for some probing bowling by Samit Patel who is emerging as a very useful player for England. Having kept the batsmen quiet he then gained an lbw decision when Younis tried to paddle him through fine leg.
After Steven Finn's exploits on Monday expectations were high as he took the new ball and Pakistan showed him due respect during a probing opening spell. They were content to play out his five-over burst, which cost just six runs, and backed themselves to make up ground elsewhere during the chase.
Pakistan's approach continued the rather sedate nature of the scoring throughout the match although there were moments when they upped the rate including Stuart Broad's opening over which cost eight runs through two boundaries by Hafeez.
With the left-handed Farhat unbeaten after 10 overs Graeme Swann was introduced between the Powerplays and almost made an immediate impression as his first delivery spun past Farhat's edge. It was close to taking off stump and Craig Kieswetter also appealed for a stumping but the batsman's foot had dragged back into the crease. Farhat responded lofting the final ball of the over for four in an enjoyable contest on a pitch helping the spinners.
It was the return to the fielding restrictions which provided England the breakthrough when James Anderson's second ball back was clipped lazily to midwicket by Hafeez. Farhat continued to guide the innings, allowing Azhar Ali time to settle in just his second ODI. But he should have been dismissed on 40 when Craig Kieswetter couldn't hold a gloved chance off Stuart Broad. It wasn't a simple chance for Kieswetter but he appeared to be undecided on how to dive for the chance leaving Broad fuming.
The missed chance didn't prove too costly for England thanks to some quick work from Broad who aborted an lbw appeal to run out Farhat from his follow through as the batsman became absent-minded to where the ball had gone. When Younis departed it was left to the captain and youngster, Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar, to lead Pakistan's recovery.Alastair Cook's transformation as a one-day cricketer continued when he became the first England captain to hit back-to-back ODI hundreds. There were plenty of similarities to two days ago with Cook leading the way, Kevin Pietersen being out-scored in a solid opening partnership and Ravi Bopara playing a useful supporting hand to set Pakistan a testing chase in Abu Dhabi.
Not only is Cook's batting form proving crucial, but his form with coin is having an impact as he won another important toss. Cook's fourth ODI hundred came from 118 balls, eight deliveries slower than his effort two days ago, and it was another well-paced display that has given England's pace bowlers a chance of exploiting conditions under the floodlights. – Agencies