Alastair Cook 2nd Century Against Pakistan makes History at Abu Dhabi.Alastair Cook became the first English captain in history to make back-to-back hundreds in one-day cricket as his side put up another solid total against Pakistan in the second one-day international.
It was a very similar story to Monday’s opening clash, with England winning the toss and electing to bat, but ultimately relying on a ton from their skipper and a half-century from Ravi Bopara.
Alastair Cook’s transformation as a one-day cricketer continued when he became the first England captain to hit back-to-back ODI hundreds. There were plenty of similarities to two days ago with Cook leading the way, Kevin Pietersen being out-scored in a solid opening partnership and Ravi Bopara playing a useful supporting hand to set Pakistan a testing chase in Abu Dhabi.
Despite the fact that the top order were more supportive this time around than they were in the first ODI, with Kevin Pietersen scoring 26 and Jonathan Trott putting up 23, England wound up 10 runs short of their previous total as they finished on 250 for four.
Cook’s timing and placement stood out. Early on he punched Aizaz Cheema off the back foot between mid-off and cover then, when spin was introduced having surprisingly being overlooked for five overs, collected consecutive boundaries off Mohammad Hafeez with a flick through midwicket and another drive. He survived one chance, on 30, when Umar Akmal dropped an edge off Shahid Afridi to highlight the risk of not playing a specialist wicketkeeper. It became very costly.
Cook hits another hundred to set testing target. A strong slog-sweep took him to 49 and his fifty came from 66 balls. For lengthy periods he was content to keep the scoreboard ticking with nudges and flicks, but would occasionally kick-start the scoring with a small flurry of boundaries as was the case during the batting Powerplay when he dispatched Umar Gul. He couldn’t quite take his innings as deep this time when a leading edge looped back to Afridi and it was Pakistan’s spinners who, in a familiar pattern, exerted most control.
Pietersen again struggled to dominate in the opening stand as he continued to battle for form although there were glimmers of something more productive. Back-to-back boundaries off Gul eased the pressure and when faced with the recalled left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman he skipped down the pitch to flick him through the leg side.
However, moments of unease were not far away. On 23 he faced a close lbw shout against Afridi, which Pakistan reviewed but the ball was only clipping leg stump so the decision stayed on-field. The boundaries dried up as Afridi and Rehman started creating pressure but it was another of the spin options, Saeed Ajmal, who broke the partnership with his third delivery.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Abdur Rehman, Azhar Ali, Aizaz Cheema.
England: Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter, Samit Patel, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn.