The Rose Bowl, Southampton : Half-centuries for Jason Roy and Joe Root ensured that England would make light work of a target of 261 – revised down to 252 after an initial delay and ultimately pegged at a DLS par score of 149 – and take a 1-0 lead in the series. An encouraging comeback from Mark Wood in a solid all-round bowling effort meant that Pakistan never looked like getting away, with Azhar Ali’s return to form the one bright spot for the tourists.
Pakistan needed wickets to compensate for their lack of runs but, on a typically true Ageas Bowl surface, Root calmly ushered England past the 150 mark – only to then be caught short by a misjudged call for a single by his captain, Eoin Morgan. Neither Morgan nor Ben Stokes, making his England comeback after a calf tear, looked in the best of nick (only Stokes, with two T20 innings for Durham, had batted previously this month) but they cobbled together enough loose change to keep England well ahead as showers swept in at the end of a muggy day on the south coast.
Azhar’s highest ODI score and some effective scampering from Sarfraz had provided a platform for Pakistan but the late charge towards 300 never really materialised. From 199 for 4 after 40 overs, they could only manage to add a further 61 runs, giving them the lowest first-innings total in an ODI at the ground (from a full 50 overs) since England made 256 for 6 against Pakistan in 2010.
Pakistan dragged the score to 260/6, a score that looked an easy target on a goodish ODI pitch. And so it proved to be, to some extent, as Roy and Root hit half-tons to make England favourites. Morgan and Stokes looked set to guide England home until rains interrupted, then ceased, then returned and consumed the rest of the overs to spring DLS to life.
England lead the 5-match series 1-0.
Brif Score: England 194 for 3 (Roy 65, Root 61) beat Pakistan 260 for 6 (Azhar 82, Sarfraz 55) by 44 runs (DLS method)
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