Total capitulation or absolute incompetence?
In ODIs however, while the English clearly looked prepared for regaining their image, the hosts, notionally playing a home series out of home, appeared to suffer either from complacency or perhaps were bloated by the victory. If that was the case, then Pakistan had lost sight of the fundamental lesson, that while history could serve as a teacher, it cannot gift you the future in a platter. You have to struggle every single inch of your way to success.
Pakistan did win the series. All praise for it, but batting continued to be its major problem. Minus the double century stand between Yunus Khan and Azhar Ali in the Test series, the team never really impressed with its batting prowess. Bowlers, especially the spinners, won the series for you. In the ODIs Pakistan batting failed to click, and gave England to a golden opportunity to add some more records to the books. Kevin Pieterson was captain of England when he struck his last hundred in a one-day international. it is history that has played heavily upon him.
Pietersen toyed for a while, nobody quite knows how seriously, with abandoning one-day cricket as his star began to wane. It has taken three years, three months and 37 ODIs to draw a line and when he walked down the pitch in his audacious style of old, and flicked Aizaz Cheema through the leg side, the intervening years seemed more aptly summed up not by his routine kneel and punch of the air as a slightly rueful raise of the eyebrows. Pietersen’s habitual pre-match claim that he was in “fantastic” form was backed up by adventurous footwork and flowing strokeplay. He passed 4,000 runs in ODIs in spectacular fashion as he danced down the pitch to strike the offspin of Mohammad Hafeez over the sightscreen for six, the comment on cricket website cricinfo reflected very aptly on his Saturday’s performance that brought humiliation for opponents.
Winning toss and batting first, a sound start was again found wanting. Then came the harshest blow came with 3 wickets falling for an incredible score of just one run, and in 15 deliveries.The loss of Imran Farhat, caught at the wicket as he struggled to cope with Finn’s hostility, seemed a blip. But Stuart Broad caused Azhar Ali to flirt with one outside off stump, Mohammad Hafeez was lbw to an in-cutter from Finn and Misbah-ul-Haq dangled his bat at Broad to edge to first slip. What a remarkable performance from Pakistani skipper. He was perhaps giving catching practice to slip fielders, forgetting completely that he had tremendous responsibility on his shoulders. England had three centuries in three matches, and we could not match that even with one single worthy performance with the bat. Asad Shafiq was brought in the side but fell rather carelessly to be run out. He had already survived a chance while at 1, but then failed to capitalize. Afridi was at his most restrained: that is he staedied along at only a run a ball. He began in haywire fashion but then played responsibly, a straight six off Graeme Swann’s off spin was his most emphatic moment. Like Umar, he fell soon after reaching his half-century, bowled by James Anderson as he attempted a big hit to onside. The ball kept low and Afridi played a rather reckless shot, cross batted, to find himself dejected and dismayed.
England relied heavily on its pacers trio of Anderson, Broad and Finn, sharing themselves eight of the 10 wickets to fall. Their success lay in swinging off the seam and off the wicket, while Pakistanis could not do that. The spin attack had been overpowered from the beginning with Cook, missing his third successive century to write yet another chapter of glory in his career as well as for England/ But a 170-run opening pair partnership, showed England’s complete domination. It was England’s first ever 9-wicket win over Pakistan in one-dayers. The opponents, humbled and humiliated in the Test series, have clearly outclassed their rivals with a 3-0 lead to clinch the ODI series of 4 matches, and who knows they may as well take a somewhat revenge in the last match scheduled for Monday.