Pakistan v England: Alastair Cook ton hands tourists 2-0 lead
Alastair Cook scored successive ODI centuries as England secured a 20-run victory over Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday
Alastair Cook led from the front once again as England secured consecutive victories to take a 2-0 lead in the one-day international series against Pakistan on Wednesday.
The England captain followed up the 137 he made on Monday with a composed 102 from 121 balls to become the first-ever Englishman to score back-to-back ODI hundreds.
Cook was again ably supported by his Essex team-mate, Ravi Bopara, who hit his second half-century in as many games as England posted 250-4 from their 50 overs in Abu Dhabi.
“It was a slightly different wicket to the one two days ago,” said Cook. “It was slightly slower and a bit harder to time the ball.”
“After batting on it we knew when we bowled up front that was the easiest time to bat. We thought around 250-260 would be a really hard total to chase down.”
This proved to be the case as Pakistan were skittled out for 230 with an over to spare, handing the tourists a 20-run victory.
Steven Finn once again impressed, recording 4-34 from his 10 overs, exactly the same figures as the ones he claimed at the same ground on Monday.
Samit Patel was also impressive, bowling accurately and consistently to claim the key wickets of Azhar Ali and Younis Khan and return figures of 2-51.
Cook singled-out his young paceman for praise, before expressing his delight at his side’s overall performance.
“I thought Steven Finn was outstanding. I think his first five overs only went for seven runs. We got ahead of the game then,” he said. “I thought we also fielded outstandingly well and we saved a lot of runs.”
“It was a really good team performance, we’ll enjoy it tonight. It’s nice go 2-0 up in the series and hopefully we can finish it in Dubai.”
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq laid the blame for his side’s defeat in the first match at his batsman’s feet, and although they once again failed to chase an achievable total, their performance was much improved.
With that being said, none of his batting line-up managed to make a half-century and are yet to do so in the series so far.
“Today the batsmen realised their duties, especially the top order. They played well. The main difference was the fielding,” said Misbah.
“The guys played well at the top but again we keep losing wickets at the wrong times. The job of the first six is to do the job and get the runs.”
The teams head to Dubai on Saturday where England will hope to seal a series victory with a third consecutive win.
But despite today’s loss and falling 2-0 behind, the Pakistan captain is confident his side can level the series, starting with the match on Saturday.
“This team can do anything the way they’re playing,” he said. “They can come back at any time. I believe in our team.”