Published On: Fri, Sep 2nd, 2016

England v Pakistan: Ben Stokes & Jonny Bairstow fifties set up Headingley win

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cricketHalf-centuries from Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow led England to a four-wicket win over Pakistan and a 4-0 lead in the one-day series.

Stokes made 69, the recalled Bairstow 61 and Moeen Ali an unbeaten 45 as the hosts recovered from 72-4 to chase 248 with two overs to spare at Headingley.

Pakistan’s 247-8 featured 80 from captain Azhar Ali and Imad Wasim’s 57 not out off 41 balls.

Adil Rashid claimed 3-47 and Moeen did not concede a boundary in his 2-39.

Victory may not have been as comprehensive as England’s record-breaking performance at Trent Bridge on Tuesday, but it gave them an unassailable 16-8 lead in the ‘Super Series’.

They have now won 12 of their past 13 one-day internationals against Pakistan, and will complete a 5-0 series whitewash if they triumph at Cardiff on Sunday.

England show their strength in depth

That England’s chase was orchestrated by three players who did not contribute with the bat in their 444-3 in Nottingham illustrates the depth in their side.

Indeed, man of the match Bairstow was selected only after wicketkeeper Jos Buttler pulled out with a hamstring strain half an hour before the game.

Stokes, not required to bat on Tuesday, combined aggression and maturity, while Bairstow replicated the sparkling Test form he has shown this year.

Driving powerfully down the ground, Stokes dominated a fifth-wicket stand of 103 with Bairstow spanning 20 overs as he compiled his highest ODI score in England.

Their alliance reversed the momentum of the innings after Mohammad Irfan had located Jason Roy and Alex Hales’ outside edges in the first seven overs, Joe Root top-edged Hasan Ali to fine-leg and Eoin Morgan steered Umar Gul straight to slip.

Although Stokes holed out at deep mid-wicket off Imad Wasim to leave England 175-5, the composed Bairstow mixed clever placement with the occasional lusty blow to take them to within sight of victory.

After the scampering Bairstow perished chasing another quick single with 23 required, Moeen – another batsman not needed in Nottingham – completed the job with a straight six.

Spinners undermine fragile Pakistan

For all Pakistan’s increased competitiveness – this was the closest match of the series – they have not passed 275 in four attempts, and Irfan, their best bowler with 2-26, managed only five overs before a calf problem forced him off the field.

Azhar was the only member of the top seven to score more than 24 as England’s spinners prospered on a dry surface offering slow turn.

Moeen’s economical 10-over spell yielded the wickets of Babar Azam – caught cutting – and Mohammad Nawaz, beaten by the turn and easily stumped.

Liam Plunkett took a superb catch leaping to his left at mid-on to account for Sarfraz Ahmed off Rashid, who trapped Mohammad Rizwan in front and ended Azhar’s cautious 108-ball innings courtesy of a miscued drive to long-off.

Belated aggression came courtesy of Imad, the left-hander hitting seven fours and a six in his second successive half-century.

But for all Irfan’s early efforts with the ball, the target proved well within England’s grasp.

Bairstow gets telling-off over beard

England’s Jonny Bairstow on Test Match Special: “I’m pleased to get a go. I got told 32 minutes before the start that I was playing. If we’re honest, we cruised home. There was no panic at any point in that chase.”

On shaving off his beard: “I got told off by my mum – my grandma had been on the phone.”

Former England spinner Graeme Swann: “Adil Rashid was the man of the match for me. Headingley is never the easiest place to bowl spin, but he’s looking the real deal now.

“England didn’t panic when they lost their wickets early on. Ben Stokes was magnificent and Jonny Bairstow has been phenomenal for two years now. He’s a pleasure to watch.”

England captain Eoin Morgan: “We did a fantastic job with the ball – special mention to the spinners.

“One of our strengths is that we bat all the way down. Jonny was outstanding. It was a man-of-the-match performance and he’s struggling to be a regular in this side, which is good for us.”

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali: “Irfan bowled well with the new ball, but his calves were cramping up. We would have loved for him to bowl a second and third spell. A few more wickets and the game could have been different.”

The stats you may have missed

  • Adil Rashid’s 3-47 are the best figures by a spinner at Headingley since Derek Underwood took 3-30 for England against West Indies in 1973
  • Rashid has taken at least two wickets in six of his past eight ODIs
  • This was the first time England spinners have taken five wickets in an ODI at Headingley – and only the fourth time for any side
  • Joe Root became the quickest England player to 3,000 ODI runs (in 71 innings) and the third quickest overall after South Africa’s Hashim Amla (57) and West Indian Viv Richards (69)
  • Eoin Morgan passed 5,000 ODI runs, which includes 744 for Ireland

source news bbc

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