England off to flyer as Strauss finds feet

Trescothick's men hold nerve as debutant Plunkett and Blackwell catch eye to stem onslaught

Sages confidently predicted that England were liable for a hammering in the one-day series following their Test defeat in Pakistan. Mere pundits thought it would be much less close.

It was entirely in keeping with the continuing ability and spirit of the tourists that they confounded such scepticism yesterday by winning the first of five matches by 42 runs. Only once since one-day internationals were reduced to 50 overs have England made more runs, and as that was against Bangladesh it can be safely assumed that their 327 for 4 at the Gaddafi Stadium was more substantial.

Winning the toss helped, but it is never a hindrance in floodlit games where mist is in the air, dew is on the ground and the faintly ridiculous supersub regulation is all around.

The key to England's victory lay a little in favourable conditions but largely in holding their nerve when Pakistan were motoring along like a jet- propelled toot-toot in pursuit of their target. The victory, while as encour-aging as it was unexpected, does not necessarily put England more firmly on track for the World Cup next year, but it does throw some doubt on the return to the side of their apparently inviolable captain, Michael Vaughan.

It was not that they won in his absence, it was that in stand-in skipper Marcus Trescothick and rookie Matthew Prior they used their seventh different opening partnership in 51 matches since the last World Cup.

The upshot was that Andrew Strauss, Trescothick's partner for the previous 10 matches, was moved to No 3. It worked effectively, since Strauss made an extremely well-paced 94 from 98 balls, the highest score by an England No 3 since Nasser Hussain's 115 at Lord's in the NatWest Series final in 2002.

Before he went home to attend the birth of his first child and missed the Third Test, Strauss could hardly make a run. Yesterday, baby Samuel having been safely delivered, he seemed as though he would never stop scoring. Ah, the joy of fatherhood.

"I think the batting order was finalised after the practice match the other day," said Strauss, who was made man of the match. "I think you have to be flexible depending on the pitches. We are very fortunate to have two world-class players in Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, and you need guys at the other end who can work it around and get them back on strike."

It was Strauss's innings that allowed the Big Two their respective charges. Pietersen, giving the lie to the mantra that nothing happens between overs 15 and 40, clumped 56 from 39 balls with seven fours and two sixes, and Flintoff bashed 72 from 65 balls with five and three respectively. Flintoff and Paul Collingwood shared an unbroken stand of 90 from 66 balls.

Still, at one point Pakistan's target was beginning to resemble ever so slightly a stroll in the park. In the 20th over Pakistan were 132 for 1, before the 25th they were virtually halfway to their objective and England, like Pakistan before them, were getting no help from the pitch. But just as little boys and girls the world over were changing their career plans from international bowler to deepcast miner for an easier life, impres-sively controlled bowling from Collingwood, the recalled Ian Blackwell and the debutant Liam Plunkett stemmed Pakistan's flow of runs.

Blackwell caught the eye above all. He was called out to the team only to replace the injured Ashley Giles, and although he claims genuinely to have been working on acquiring a less full figure, the rosy cheeks and the generous girth still managed to make it look as though his training had been geared towards landing a seasonal job as Santa Claus in a Taunton department store.

But the judgement in his left-arm spin was impeccable. He varied his pace delightfully and his line from over the stumps à la Giles never allowed the batsmen much room to manoeuvre. Forty-five runs in 10 overs represented parsimony.

Plunkett was barely less laudable. His inexperience mattered not, or maybe he simply did not have enough experience to know that a side going along at seven runs an over, as Pakistan were, are heading for victory. Like Blackwell, he usually found the appropriate length and the slower ball to go with it.

Collingwood bowled only four overs but they came when they were most needed - and he will gain no more prized wicket than that of Inzamam-ul-Haq. Pakistan still stayed in the hunt almost to the last, and at 262 for 4 in the 44th over - 65 needed from 32 balls - victory was still attainable before packed, baying stands. The loss of their last six wickets in 23 balls was not the climactic finish the crowd wanted.

For all the sleekness of their performance, England took a gamble on the supersub rule and won. In winning the toss and batting, it meant they were able to omit Pietersen from their fielding unit and use Plunkett. Had they lost, their options and opportunities would have been reduced. The rule is a dud. England, however, are 1-0 up.

LAHORE SCOREBOARD

England won toss

England

* M E Trescothick c Danish Kaneria b Naved-ul-Hasan 13

(Hit slower ball to mid-off; 40 min, 21 balls, 2 fours)

M J Prior lbw b Mohammad Sami 45

(Misread dipping full toss; 81 min, 55 balls, 6 fours)

A J Strauss c Salman Butt b Danish Kaneria 94

(Pulled short ball to deep mid-wicket; 122 min, 98 balls, 6 fours)

K P Pietersen st Kamran Akmal b Shoaib Malik 56

(Missed huge swing at leg-side wide; 52 min, 39 balls, 7 fours, 2 sixes)

A Flintoff not out 72

(76 min, 65 balls, 5 fours, 3 sixes)

P D Collingwood not out 34

(47 min, 27 balls, 4 fours)

Extras (lb3, w5, nb5) 13

Total (4 wkts, 211 min, 50 overs) 327

Fall: 1-43 (Trescothick), 2-94 (Prior), 3-185 (Pietersen), 4-237 (Strauss).

Did not bat: ÝG O Jones, V S Solanki, I D Blackwell, J M Anderson, S J Harmison. Supersub: L E Plunkett (replaced Pietersen in Pakistan innings).

Bowling: Shoaib Akhtar 10-0-60-0 (nb4 w3) (5-0-21-0 1-0-12-0 4-0-27-0), Naved-ul-Hasan 9-0-75-1 (7-0-45-1 2-0-30-0), Mohammad Sami 7-0-35-1 (6-0-32-1 1-0-3-0), Abdul Razzaq 6-0-33-0 (one spell), Danish Kaneria 9-0-62-1 (nb1) (3-0-24-0 6-0-38-1), Shoaib Malik 9-0-59-1 (w2) (one spell).

Strauss 50: 72 min, 55 balls, 4 fours. Pietersen 50: 45 min, 35 balls, 6 fours, 2 sixes. Flintoff 50: 57 min, 55 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes.

Pakistan

Salman Butt c Flintoff b Harmison 67

(Miscued drive to mid-off; 86 min, 65 balls, 8 fours, 1 six)

ÝKamran Akmal b Anderson 5

(Edged attempted pull on to stumps; 8 min, 6 balls, 1 four)

Younis Khan c Collingwood b Flintoff 60

(Sliced slower ball to point; 94 min, 56 balls, 6 fours, 1 six)

Mohammad Yousuf c Solanki b Plunkett 59

(Drove high to long-on; 98 min, 63 balls, 5 fours)

* Inzamam-ul-Haq c Jones b Collingwood 13

(Nicked attempted late cut to keeper; 17 min, 18 balls, 1 four)

Shoaib Malik c Jones b Plunkett 50

(Top-edged attempted pull; 76 min, 60 balls)

Abdul Razzaq c Jones b Plunkett 13

(Edged off-cutter to keeper; 8 min, 7 balls, 1 four, 1 six)

Shoaib Akhtar run out (Jones TV replay) 3

(Slow to turn scrambling a single; 5 min, 3 balls)

Naved-ul-Hasan not out 2

(7 min, 2 balls)

Mohammad Sami c Trescothick b Flintoff 1

(Drove to extra cover; 3 min, 2 balls)

Danish Kaneria b Flintoff 0

(Beaten by swinging yorker; 1 min, 1 ball)

Extras (lb5, w5, nb2) 12

Total (206 min, 46.5 overs) 285

Fall: 1-15 (Kamran Akmal), 2-132 (Salman Butt), 3-160 (Younis Khan), 4-179 (Inzamam-ul-Haq), 5-262 (Mohammad Yousuf), 6-279 (Abdul Razzaq), 7-282 (Shoaib Malik), 8-282 (Shoaib Akhtar), 9-285 (Mohammad Sami), 10-285 (Danish Kaneria). Arshad Khan named as super sub but did not play.

Bowling: Harmison 8-0-58-1 (w2) (4-0-30-0 2-0-15-1 2-0-13-0), Anderson 7-0-33-1 (w2) (6-0-29-1 1-0-4-0), Flintoff 8.5-0-73-3 (nb2 w1) (4-0-41-0 1-0-5-1 2-0-10-0 1.5-0-17-2), Plunkett 9-0-51-3 (3-0-20-0 1-0-9-0 5-0-22-3), Blackwell 10-0-45-0 (2-0-10-0 8-0-35-0), Collingwood 4-0-20-1 (one spell).

Salman Butt 50: 61 min, 47 balls, 7 fours, 1 six. Younis Khan 50: 72 min, 45 balls, 5 fours, 1 five, 1 six. Mohammad Yousuf 50: 86 min, 54 balls, 4 fours. Shoaib Malik 50: 70 min, 59 balls.

Umpires: D B Hair (Aus) and B G Jerling (SA).

TV replay umpire: Asad Rauf. Match referee: J J Crowe (NZ).

England won by 42 runs. Man of the match: A J Strauss.

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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future