Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow rewrite history as England lead Pakistan 2-0 in ODI series

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Roy and Bairstow put on 159 and became England's most productive opening ODI partnership.

Jonny Bairstow’s century set up England’s second highest successful run chase as they claimed a six-wicket win over Pakistan and a 2-0 series lead in their One Day International series.

Pakistan had made 358 for nine on a welcoming Bristol pitch complete with small boundaries and a lightning-fast outfield.

It seemed an imposing target at the halfway stage, but nothing appears to faze this brutal England batting line-up and Bairstow resumed where Jos Buttler had left off at Southampton.

The Yorkshireman’s 128 from 93 balls steered England towards the fifth highest successful run chase in ODI history, and their second after the 364 scored to beat the West Indies in Barbados in February.

Buttler was rested after his weekend batting pyrotechnics had produced an unbeaten 110 from 55 balls – England’s second-fastest ODI hundred.

This time it was a different challenge after England, perhaps wishing to get some experience of chasing with the World Cup on the horizon, had won the toss and decided to bowl.

Roy and Bairstow had some early good fortune as Pakistan’s fielding failed to match their earlier efforts with the bat.

Bairstow, on four, gloved a pull off Junaid Khan and Shaheen Afridi failed to react quickly enough at short backward square.

Shaheen suffered further misery when Roy, on 21, hit Hasan straight to him at mid-off and he spilled the simplest of chances.

Those errors proved costly as Roy and Bairstow put on 159 and became England’s most productive opening ODI partnership into the bargain.

Their fourth 150 partnership was also the fastest one of such a nature, coming from 105 balls and eclipsing the 2008 record of New Zealand pair Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder.

Roy fell for 76 when he swatted Faheem Ashraf straight to Asif Ali at cover after hitting eight fours and four sixes in his 55-ball stay.

On his arrival after Roy’s departure, Joe Root was picked up by a pitch microphone asking umpire Paul Reiffel ‘How do you follow that?’

The answer was stand there and watch further carnage, as Bairstow completed his seventh ODI century and finished with 15 fours and five sixes before playing on to Junaid.

Ben Stokes was unluckily run out for 37 when Shaheen diverted Moeen Ali’s drive onto the stumps at the bowler’s end

But Moeen (46 not out) and captain Eoin Morgan (17 not out), who broke Paul Collingwood’s England record of ODI appearances by playing his 198th game, closed the victory out with 31 balls to spare.

Pakistan’s total was built around opener Imam-ul-Haq, whose majestic 151 was his sixth century in 27 ODI appearances.

The 23-year-old might cut an unusual figure at the crease as he bats in spectacles, but he only had eyes for a ball that he regularly sent to the boundary.

Imam carries the burden of being the nephew of Pakistan great and current chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, but there is no denying he is a fine player in his own right.

He struck 16 fours and a six and now possesses the highest ODI score by a Pakistan player against England.

Chris Woakes was the pick of the England bowlers and finished with figures of 4-67, his 11th four-wicket ODI haul.

Woakes found early movement to dismiss Fakhar Zaman – who had made 138 at Southampton – and Babar Azam and leave Pakistan 27 for two in the fifth over.

Pakistan recovered with two 50 partnerships, although Haris Sohail’s run-a-ball 41 could have been so much more.

Haris was punished for some awful running between the wickets, the nifty footwork of Tom Curran leaving him stranded when a little bit of urgency or a final dive would have saved him.

Sarfaraz Ahmed chipped in with 27 and Imam and Asif Ali, who made an ODI best of 52, put on 125 for the fifth wicket.

Woakes’ return briefly stunted Pakistan’s late push for runs until Hasan Ali provided further impetus with an unbeaten 18 from nine balls.

But England coasted home and now head to Trent Bridge on Friday 2-0 ahead with two games to play.

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ICC clear England pacer Liam Plunkett after ball-tampering allegations

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England's Liam Plunkett.

England bowler Liam Plunkett has been exonerated of tampering with the ball during the second ODI against Pakistan.

A short clip from Saturday’s match at the Ageas Bowl attracted the attention of Twitter users, with the 34-year-old seen rubbing his fingers along the surface of the Kookaburra ball.

The player himself is understood to have raised the issue after becoming aware of it and was cleared by umpires Chris Gaffaney and Paul Reiffel, in accordance with match referee Richie Richardson.

A short ICC statement read: “The ICC has confirmed that the match officials are comfortable there was no attempt by Liam Plunkett to change the condition of the ball or any evidence of this on the over-by-over examinations of the ball throughout Saturday’s ODI clash in Southampton.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board declined to comment but is understood to be content that Plunkett has no case to answer.

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Eoin Morgan hails new dad Jos Buttler after match-winning ton against Pakistan

Nick Purewal 12/05/2019
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Jos Buttler hit an unbeaten ton in Southampton.

Eoin Morgan hailed new dad Jos Buttler for hitting new heights with his match-winning 110 not out against Pakistan.

England edged out Pakistan by 12 runs in the second ODI at Southampton, with Buttler’s 50-ball century the epitome of improvised, aggressive stroke play.

Buttler and wife Louise recently celebrated the arrival of their first child, daughter Georgia Rose, and the 28-year-old celebrated his century with the classic baby-rocking gesture.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur admitted the tourists had no answers to Buttler’s brutal hitting, while England skipper Morgan believes the Taunton-born star just keeps getting better and better.

Asked if Buttler had scaled new levels with his stunning knock, Morgan said: “I think so.

“When he plays innings like that, and they seem to be grouped closer and closer together, it means we’re very fortunate to have him in our side.”

Buttler and Morgan posted a 162-run stand as England struck 373 for three in the second ODI against Pakistan.

England rotated resources, omitting World Cup bolter Jofra Archer in a bid to hand other seamers time on the wicket. And Morgan admitted some quality players will miss the cut for the final World Cup squad.

The England skipper insisted however that recent addition Archer’s availability is not itself driving standards.

“I think they are all pushing each other,” said Morgan. “It’s a bit like our batting unit the last two or three years. Guys have come in and done well. And guys will miss out.

“It’s going to be a tough decision regardless of how they have performed. For the last four years David Willey and Liam Plunkett in particular have reacted really well when being put under pressure. You ask them to do more and they respond really well.

“I thought Liam Plunkett bowled beautifully, even when he came back in that middle spell. It didn’t actually swing much today. I thought all the bowlers today who were put under the pump, when we couldn’t take wickets throughout that whole 30-over period, they reacted really well.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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