Finn, Cook dish out England win over Pakistan
ABU DHABI: Paceman Steven Finn took a career-best 4-34 and Alastair Cook hit his highest score to help England beat Pakistan in a fortune-turning 130-run win in the first day-night international here on Monday.
Finn, left to serve drinks during England’s 3-0 defeat in the preceding Tests, destroyed Pakistan’s batting with four early wickets off 29 balls to dismiss them for 130 in 35 overs after Cook’s 137 helped his team to 260-7.
The win gives England a 1-0 win in the four-match series after a disastrous Test series — their first as world number one in five-day format.
Pakistan looked all at sea against Finn who used the wind to move the ball.
The 22-year-old lanky paceman, who showed frustration at being sidelined in the Tests, showed his talent by trapping Mohammad Hafeez (five) and Asad Shafiq (nought) off successive balls in his second over.
He then had Younis Khan (15) in his fourth and Imran Farhat (ten) in his fifth to leave Pakistan tottering at 40-4.
Left-arm spinner Samit Patel then further shook Pakistan with the wickets of Misbah-ul Haq (14), Shoaib Malik (seven) and Shahid Afridi (28) to finish with 3-26. Graeme Swann, who took 2-19, had Umar Akmal (22) and Umar Gul (two).
Earlier Cook, whose previous best of 119 came against Sri Lanka at Lord’s last year, hit 14 boundaries during a fluent 142-ball innings and shaped well against Pakistan’s spin-dominated attack.
Given out leg-before off Mohammad Hafeez when 30, Cook successfully reviewed Australian umpire Simon Taufel’s decision and carried the batting until the 47th over when he was finally bowled by Saeed Ajmal who finished with a career-best 5-43.
Cook added an invaluable 131 runs for the third wicket with Ravi Bopara (50) to revive England after they lost two wickets in the 13th over.
England’s ploy to open with Kevin Pietersen, who managed just 67 runs in the Tests, worked well as Cook and his new partner put on 57 by the 13th over as Pakistan opened the bowling with paceman Umar Gul and Hafeez.
Pietersen though managed 14 before he became one of two Shahid Afridi victims, bowled through the gate off a googly by the leg-spinner. Next ball Afridi dismissed Jonathan Trott with a sharp turner.
Bopara notched his seventh fifty in one-day internationals off 67 delivery but two balls later jumped out to drive Ajmal and was stumped. He hit four boundaries.
Cook hit Afridi for two fours to enter the 90s and then cover drove Ajmal to the boundary to reach the three-figure mark off 110 deliveries.
Ajmal’s previous best of 4-33 was against New Zealand on this same ground in 2009.
Patel (17) and Swann (13) put together 28 in the last 3.1 overs to propel England to a fighting total.
The second match will be played here on Wednesday while the last two will be played in Dubai on February 18 and 21.