Mon, Feb 20, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Pietersen, Cook guide England to one-day series win

AFP, DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

England’s Kevin Pietersen plays a shot against Pakistan in the third one-day international match in Dubai Sports City, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Kevin Pietersen hit his eighth one-day century, while Alastair Cook missed a chance to grab a third consecutive ton as England crushed Pakistan by nine wickets in the third day-night match on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Pietersen notched an unbeaten 98-ball 111, while opening partner Cook hit 80 to help their team overhaul a modest 223-run target set by Pakistan with 12.4 overs to spare at Dubai Stadium.

The victory gave England an unassailable 3-0 lead in the four-match series, with the fourth and final match to come in Dubai tomorrow.

Pietersen, whose last one-day century came against India at Cuttack in November 2008, hit his 10th boundary to bring up the win.

Pietersen, who also hit two sixes, crossed the 4,000 one-day run mark when he reached 57, becoming the seventh England batsman to reach the milestone. He pushed paceman Aizaz Cheema towards square-leg for two to reach his century off 93 balls, his first in 36 innings.

Cook, who hit a career-best 137 and then 102 in the first two matches, was shaping well for his third century, but he fell when he was caught behind off spinner Saeed Ajmal after a fluent 98-ball knock, hitting six boundaries and a six.

Pakistan’s bowlers looked helpless against some impressive batting by Cook and Pietersen, who improved on the previous best opening stand of 147 against Pakistan set by Michael Atherton and Robin Smith in Karachi in the 1996 World Cup.

Cook fell with 53 still needed, before Eoin Morgan (24 not out) helped Pietersen see off the target.

Cook said keeping Pakistan to 222 was fantastic.

“It’s great to win the series,” said Cook, who took over the captaincy in May last year. “Keeping Pakistan to 222 on this pitch was fantastic and our bowlers were outstanding. That total was below par.”

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was disappointed with his team’s efforts.

“Credit to England, they bowled well,” said Misbah, who lost his first one-day series after four wins. “England’s bowlers pressurized us and we lost wickets regularly.”

Earlier, Shahid Afridi hit a 55-ball 51, while Umar Akmal scored a 92-ball half-century during their 79-run sixth-wicket stand which lifted Pakistan from a precarious 97-5 after Misbah won the toss and chose to bat.

Pakistan lost Azhar Ali (5), Mohammad Hafeez (29) and Misbah (1) in the space of just two runs.

Two of the wickets went to paceman Stuart Broad, who finished with 3-42, while the impressive Steven Finn added Hafeez to his early breakthrough of Imran Farhat (9) in the pace-dominated early period of the match.

Finn, who took four wickets in both of the first two matches after sitting out the Test series, finished with 3-24 off 10 overs.

Afridi and Akmal repaired the innings, with Afridi hitting three boundaries and a six.

Broad returned for his second spell to dismiss Akmal, caught by Samit Patel after hitting just one boundary.

Afridi followed four runs later when he failed to connect properly with a big drive off paceman James Anderson, who finished with 2-52.

Pakistan, who made two changes from the second one-day international, were forced to leave out experienced batsman Younis Khan, who was suffering from a fever.

Asad Shafiq (18) added 46 for the fifth wicket with Akmal, before he was run out. Umar Gul made 27 not out to give some late momentum to the innings.

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