Alastair Cook century helps England thrash Pakistan

 

Alastair Cook and Steven Finn's career-best performances carried England to an emphatic, and overdue, win over Pakistan.

Cook (137) near single-handedly chiselled out a competitive total of 260 for seven in the first one-day international at the Zayed Stadium.

Then Finn (four for 34), kept waiting throughout a 3-0 Test series defeat against these same opponents, returned with a vengeance to take the first four wickets as Pakistan made it only half-way under lights - collapsing to 130 all out in 35 overs.

Finn's was the eyecatching display of a fast bowler with world-class potential in all formats.

But it was down to Cook - who approached a run-a-ball tempo almost throughout his 142-ball stay, while others failed to come close - that his bowlers had the right stage to strut their stuff.

Cook's third ODI century gave his team a chance to at last break their duck against Pakistan this winter, and that opportunity was significantly enhanced once Finn struck with successive balls in his second over.

He pinned first Mohammad Hafeez, and then Asad Shafiq, lbw with express pace and dead-eyed direction.

Finn's third wicket came in his fourth over, this time with some snaking movement into the bat and an outstanding catch by diving wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter off Younus Khan's inside edge.

Kieswetter needed to be less agile, and merely competent, to complete the next dismissal when Imran Farhat got a faint outside edge to give Finn four in an ODI for the first time.

England were already on course for only their second win in their last 11 international attempts - and with Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal soon gone to Samit Patel (three for 26) and Graeme Swann's spin, it was merely a case of how long Shahid Afridi's swashbuckling defiance might last.

Despite being dropped by Patel when he skied Swann to the midwicket boundary, even he did not worry England for long. Yet without their captain, it might have been another sorry tale for the tourists as Saeed Ajmal - one of their nemeses in the Test whitewash - had finished with five for 43 after Cook chose to bat first on a fair pitch.

Prospects looked far from promising, for example, when Cook and Ravi Bopara (50) joined forces for a third-wicket stand of 131 after Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott had been clean-bowled by successive balls from Afridi.

Pietersen's return to opening the innings resulted in a laboured 14 from 36 balls as off-spinner Hafeez proved hard to get away.

Cook needed DRS, on 30, to overturn Simon Taufel's lbw decision which was confounded by Hotspot's indication of a big inside edge against Hafeez.

But there was no such refuge for Pietersen when he missed a leg-break in Afridi's second over. Trott then never managed to put bat on ball, groping at a variation delivery from Afridi which snaked through the gate.

Bopara kept out the hat-trick ball but endured a decidedly nervy next five minutes.

Hafeez might have had him stumped on one, and then Afridi should have had him lbw on two when Ahsan Raza unaccountably turned one down that appeared to hit the batsman on the back pad in front of middle-stump.

Bopara's sticky start contributed to a statistic which revealed, Cook apart, England had mustered only 22 runs off the bat in the first 22 overs.

But the Essex pair served their country very well for 25 overs until Bopara went on the charge again and was stumped this time, off Ajmal.

The off-spinner took the next two wickets too, Eoin Morgan missing one of his reverse-hit varieties to be lbw and Kieswetter trying to launch a huge hit which went only as far as short third-man off a thick edge.

Cook was into three figures by then, finding the gaps and release shots with his favoured sweeps off spin and cuts off pace to eventually count 14 boundaries. Just 27 runs, and two wickets, nonetheless came from the batting powerplay - and despite Cook's admirable efforts, which ended when he missed a sweep to be bowled by Ajmal, 64 from the last 10 overs was barely par.

But after Finn had his say with the new ball, none of those quibbles amounted to much.

PA

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor