England beat Pakistan to win ODI series 3-1

Sport360 staff 23:46 20/11/2015
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England celebrate a 3-1 series victory in ODIs.

Jos Buttler hit England’s fastest international hundred – and Jason Roy his first – as the tourists completed a 3-1 series win over Pakistan in a run-fest at the Dubai International Stadium.

Buttler’s unbeaten 116 means he has hit his country’s three fastest one-day international centuries. He reached three figures off 46 balls, with eight sixes and eight fours to his name at that point.

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By then, Roy’s admirable 102 appeared positively pedestrian.

But it laid the foundations for a mammoth 355 for five – England’s highest total overseas – and eventual 84-run win, despite a spirited chase from the hosts on a very good pitch.

Pakistan took a heavy toll on Reece Topley in a flying start to their reply, but despite the big hitting of Babar Azam (51) and Shoaib Malik (52), they lacked further innings of substance as spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali shared six wickets.

Roy put on 140 for the second wicket with Joe Root (71), before Buttler – returning to the scene of his ODI debut in 2012 – dominated a stand of 79 in 40 balls with James Taylor.

It was especially heartening that England’s wicketkeeper – so short of runs for much of this year – confirmed his return to form in such spectacular fashion, while Roy followed the example of fellow opener Alex Hales two matches ago with his maiden hundred at this level.

This time, Hales toe-ended an attempted pull at Mohammad Irfan to third man where Shoaib held a running catch.

Roy had a couple of close calls.

He passed his previous career-best when he just cleared long on off Shoaib, and then on 77 he edged a Yasir Shah leg-break but survived when the ball went through wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed’s fingertips and was then put down by Mohammad Rizwan at slip too.

Root was the foil who got off strike but also had the range of shot to pass his 50 in 55 balls – with a straight hit down the ground off Shoaib for his second six to add to just two fours.

It was an emotional as well as a breakthrough moment for Roy when he completed his century, with eight fours and that six from 113 balls.

But he got little further before skewing Yasir to long off – and when Root was stumped, walkabout attempting a reverse sweep to give Azhar Ali a first ODI wicket – England had two new batsmen at the crease with only a single between them.

Eoin Morgan and Buttler, promoted to number four, took 16 between them off the 40th over.

The England captain was then deceived by Azhar’s googly, as his opposite number picked up a second career wicket – again stumped – and the tourists had lost three in five overs.

But Buttler and Taylor, whose unbroken century stand won the third ODI three days ago, merely saw another opportunity.

Buttler produced a wonderful demonstration, full of his trademark power and ingenuity, that he is back to his best – leaving Pakistan’s batsmen a huge task to respond effectively.

David Willey got both openers, Ahmed Shehzad pulling to deep square leg and Azhar falling caught-and-bowled off a leading edge for a quickfire 44.

Mohammad Hafeez threatened, like his captain, only briefly before he revisited Pakistan’s run-out calamities of Sharjah – pushing an attempted single to cover and beaten on the retreat when the throw came in.

Babar and Shoaib kept Pakistan on course, but wickets continued to fall.

Hales had earlier dropped Hafeez in the deep and not paid too dearly, but there was still some relief when he pulled off a much better catch at deep extra-cover off Rashid to limit Babar to a run-a-ball half-century.

Rashid then kept his nerve, after Rizwan hit the first ball of an over for six, keeping the ball up with another leg-break which was edged behind.

Hales reserved his best for last with a tumbling take off a Topley full-toss to cut Shoaib short too, after his 50 from just 31 balls – almost as fast as Buttler’s – and Pakistan ran out of batsmen long before their overs.

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