Pietersen pummels Pakistan

Cook shares in record opening stand but misses out on third ton

By Rob Lancaster   Last updated: 18th February 2012   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Shahid Afridi 3rd ODI

Shahid Afridi: the all-rounder top-scored for Pakistan with 51 from 53 balls

Steven Finn England celebrating a wicket against Pakistan in the third one-dayer Dubai

Steve Finn celebrates the first of his three wickets with team-mate Samit Patel

Pakistan v England 3rd ODI Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook

Pietersen and Cook: shared in a record opening stand against Pakistan worth 170

Pakistan v England 3rd ODI Kevin Pietersen century

Kevin Pietersen: Hit two sixes during his knock, the first of which took him past 4,000 ODI runs

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Kevin Pietersen struck his first one-day century since November 2008 as England clinched the one-day series against Pakistan with a game to spare.

Pietersen finished up unbeaten on 111 to see the tourists to a victory target of 223 with nine wickets and 78 balls in hand, meaning the third 'contest' ended up being a complete mismatch at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Alastair Cook played his part with 80, sharing in a record opening stand of 170 that quickly showed Pakistan's total of 222 all out was well below par.

The England skipper did miss out on creating history when he fell short of a third consecutive ton, though it will only have been a small irritation on an otherwise excellent day for his side.

Dominance

Such was the tourists' dominance they were able to switch around the order when Cook departed, Eoin Morgan coming in at three to get some much-needed time in the middle, the left-hander making 24 not out.

Fittingly, however, it was Pietersen who hit the winning runs, a crunching drive through the covers giving him his 10 boundary. He also hammered two superb straight sixes, the first of which took him past 4,000 ODI runs.

More importantly he finally ended a long wait for a 50-over century that stretched back over three years, although he did need a let-off on 45 when he was dropped out at deep square leg by Azhar Ali.

Cook had kept pace with his opening partner during their partnership before, out of the blue, he feathered Saeed Ajmal through to new Pakistan wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal just when another hundred looked a certainty.

While England's captain will now target a series whitewash ahead of the final game on Tuesday, opposite number Misbah-ul-Haq must be wondering just what his team can do differently to turn the tide in their favour.

Even when they got the chance to bat first after Misbah won the toss, Pakistan's top order still failed to fire on a pitch with much more pace and bounce than those used for the first two matches in Abu Dhabi.

Openers Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Farhat both cashed in on some early boundary opportunities before falling to Steve Finn, who was once again the pick of England's attack, finishing with figures of 3-24 from his 10 overs.

Deep trouble

Stuart Broad overcame a disastrous opening over to dismiss Azhar for five and when Misbah edged the seamer to Graeme Swann at first slip, Pakistan were in deep trouble at 50-4.

Asad Shafiq's unfortunate run out - his bat bouncing off the floor as he dived to make his ground - left the score at 97-5 but Umar Akmal, promoted to No.4 in the absence of the ill Younis Khan, and Shahid Afridi combined to add 79.

Umar made the most of being dropped by Craig Kieswetter on 28 to register his 13th one-day half-century, although he failed to add another run before he was dismissed by Broad (3-42).

Afridi then fell in the very next over from Anderson, bowled off bat and pad for a 55-ball 51, and from then on Pakistan's only target was to make sure they lasted the full 50 overs.

They just about achieved it, their 10th wicket not going down until the final ball, and some lusty blows from Umar Gul (27 not out) gave them a few more to bowl at. In the end, though, they needed a lot, lot more than they managed, England coasting home thanks to Pietersen's heroics.

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