England on a high

ABU DHABI - Could this be the start of something better? On the evidence of the first one-day international of the Bank Alfalah presents Mobilink Jazz Cup between Pakistan and England, it is too early to say so. But England did all the right things on Monday.

By James Jose

Published: Thu 16 Feb 2012, 12:58 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:43 PM

And their energy, attitude and body language suggests that it could be. Comprehensively grounded by Pakistan in the Test series and their frailties against spin all too well known, England were dejected, searching for answers and for a win.

It did come by finally on Monday night and led indeed from the front by their captain Alastair Cook. And it is amazing what a win can do. The smiles were back on their faces, but more importantly, England have now posed some questions to Pakistan when they lock horns again in the second day-nighter at the Shaikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium.

For the first time in this series, England got everything right. Despite two quick wickets in the early part of their innings, Cook and Ravi Bopara rescued them with some dogged batting against the spin. Cook notched his third ODI ton, a career-best 137, while Bopara soaked up the pressure in fine fashion to notch a half-century. They managed to post a decent target and then had Pakistan well and truly on the mat with quick Steven Finn firing the blows. Pakistan couldn’t recover and were shot out for 130, less than what Cook had scored.

But despite the win, Cook is not getting carried away. “There is a sense of satisfaction when we have a good to win this. But we have back-to-back games and we will at areas and guage where we need to improve and make sure we come back and put in a really good performance,” said Cook.

And the England captain was hoping his side can put together another good performance on Wednesday. “We will enjoy the winning feeling and come back on Wednesday and hopefully we can put on another good performance,” added Cook.

England could make one change to their line-up by bringing in Tim Bresnan in place of James Anderson.

On the other hand, Pakistan have been shaken up from a dream tour so far. Their spin has always brought the ‘A’ game onto the pitch but their batting didn’t turn up on the night. They were knocked sideways by Steven Finn and barring the dangerous Shahid Afridi, who fired a neat cameo of 28 from 22 balls with four boundaries, none stood up. Which brings you to the question, why isn’t Afridi moved up the order? The Pathan batted as low as No.8, behind Shoaib Malik, who didn’t do anything noteworthy on the night. Pakistan could do well to push him higher up the order and based on the situation, could even send him in at No.3.

Pakistan made just 130, their lowest ODI score since they were bowled out for 124 against New Zealand in Wellington in January last year.

But Younis Khan said that there was no reason to panic. “I hope there is no panic. We should not panic because we have not batted badly in the last four five matches,” said Younis.


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