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.


Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot