England v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Chester-le-Street September 10, 2010

Davies sets England up for comfortable 24-run win


England 274 for 6 (Davies 87, Ajmal 4-58) beat Pakistan 250 (Kamran 53, Anderson 2-35) by 24 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England's winning momentum showed no signs of abating as they took the opening one-day international at Chester-le-Street by 24 runs, but at least they were made to work a little harder by Pakistan. Steve Davies led the batting effort with a powerful 87 off 67 balls, his first international half-century, and was backed up by a composed 69 from Jonathan Trott as England piled up 274 for 6 in a match reduced to 41 overs by a wet outfield. For once the visitors' batting didn't implode as some spirited contributions kept them alive but they couldn't find the major stand required.

There are 12 ODIs between now and the start of the World Cup for England to finalise their plans but conditions in Durham during early September are a million miles away from anything they'll face in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. However, this is a strong one-day unit being put into place and one of the few areas still containing some uncertainty, the wicketkeeper-opening batsman, was a success here with Davies' impressive effort.

His only previous ODI came as an emergency replacement for Matt Prior at last year's Champions Trophy when he faced Australia in the semi-final at Centurion. Here he timed the ball beautifully all around the wicket and was especially strong square through the off side whenever he was offered width during a lively 37-ball fifty. Unlike Craig Kieswetter, who often looked hyperactive at the crease and lost control of his shots, Davies remained still and composed until he fell cutting at Saeed Ajmal.

In their current frame of mind it would have taken a monumental effort from Pakistan to chase down the runs, but they at least gave themselves half a chance. Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal added 62 for the first wicket, Pakistan's best opening stand in any international since the Headingley Test against Australia, before Graeme Swann's usual party trick of a first over wicket when Hafeez was well caught at deep-square leg.

Despite all the allegations circulating in recent weeks players have insisted the matches will be played in the right spirit, but for a moment tensions nearly boiled over during Stuart Broad's second over. Kamran pulled out of his stance and pointed angrily towards Trott at mid-on then Andrew Strauss became involved before Billy Doctrove stepped in. The heated moment appeared to pass by the end of the over, but feelings were clearly running fairly high.

England's fielding wasn't quite at its best as Kamran was given two lives in two balls when he was missed by Strauss at point and Trott at long-off. This time the home side had breathing space, but Andy Flower and Richard Halsall, the fielding coach, will have noted the errors. Michael Yardy reasserted England's control when he had Mohammad Yousuf lbw coming too far across the crease and Swann won his duel against Kamran when the wicketkeeper couldn't clear long off having made his first half-century of the tour.

Umar Akmal hit 43 off 33 balls before trying to scooping Broad over the keeper and Asad Shafiq showed some spirit as he clubbed Tim Bresnan for four boundaries. But Shahid Afridi could barely middle the ball during a painful 25-ball innings and when he carved to cover it really was the end for Pakistan's slim chances.

It was England's efficient batting display which set up the victory and they'd been led off in style as the new opening duo of Davies and Strauss who added 78 in 12 overs. Mohammad Irfan's much-anticipated introduction into international cricket didn't quite go to plan as his first over was dispatched for 15. However, it was still a touch harsh when he was whipped out of the attack after one over and his replacement, Umar Gul, didn't do any better as his two-over burst cost 22 and he finished with 67 off six overs.

Shoaib Akhtar was the only paceman to offer any control and was unlucky not to claim success in an opening five-over burst that cost just nine runs. He received very little support, however, and despite his parsimonious efforts England had 63 on the board at the end of his opening spell. Davies was dropped at short cover on 21 when Afridi could hold a stinging drive and Strauss continued to show impressive intent - no doubt aware that scoring heavily off the spinners will be key in the World Cup - as he launched Ajmal over long-on for his second six, Ajmal, though, claimed revenge when Strauss missed a mighty sweep and he was given a send-off by the bowler for his troubles.

With Trott playing himself in and working the ball for ones and twos the onus was on Davies to keep the tempo high which he did successfully until he tried to cut Ajmal 13 short of his hundred. Pakistan were unlucky not to strike again shortly afterwards when Doctrove failed to spot Trott's edge off Ajmal on 26 and then lost the services of Irfan who limped off midway through his sixth over.

Paul Collingwood fell trying to take advantage of the batting Powerplay and Eoin Morgan edged a cut off Afridi, but Trott registered his first boundary off his 54th delivery when he back-cut Shoaib.

Trott then brought up his fifty from 64 balls and immediately stepped on the gas with the confidence of a man who is in the form of his life. A few lusty blows from Ravi Bopara ensured the momentum was all England's and they never really looked liked losing. It says everything about the last two weeks that there was even a sense of gratefulness just for something resembling a contest.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 13, 2010, 20:37 GMT

    Dont talk about Indian team. they are not in controversy right now. the fablous trio of pak is in trouble. so keep quite until pak play with honours for their country.

  • Anand on September 13, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    Azka Ali are you dreaming? pakistan is languishing at the bottom of the table and a couple of more series on the subcontinent would have made it to #1 ?? you guys like to live in a fairly tale world i guess. India is #1 bcoz they have won more test series than they have lost over the last few years wherever they have played. granted they lost in SA - but who has won there barring Aus? and they lost in Aus under controversial circumstances, but they have beaten Eng in Eng, SL in SL (not the most recent one) , NZ in NZ - none of which pak can ever claim.

  • Dummy4 on September 12, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    @dineshcc it is very nice of you to support pakistan in these crisis i think india and pakistan are actually neck to neck india has tendulkar dravid dhoni laxman but we have amir asif umar gul(though he was dreadful in this match)and many more fast bowlers india is higher in rankings because thay get to play in their country and on their pitches in these recent years when they came on the south african surfaces their batsmen flopped miserably having great difficulty in handling the short ball but pakistan has been away from subcontinent they have played on the european and australian tracks and their batsmen struggled like india did in T20 world cup i am sure if we would have been playing in srilanka we would have won the series as our bowlers are world class and dreaded by every batsman pakistan team is going through a tough time they need support from not only their own nation but also from the whole sub continent isnt is heartbreaking to see a great cricketing nation like that

  • DINESH on September 12, 2010, 5:46 GMT

    Karthik please extend your support when your neighbours are in problems. Don't criticize them. One or two pakistani players may be inovolved in match fixing. For which entire team cannot be blamed. I agree with Mustafa7. You see the statistics for the last 50 years. In 80s it was West Indies. In 90s it was Pakistan (nodboy would forget the deadly duo of Wasim and Waqar), In late 90s it was Australia in top of their form. Now India and South Africa. It is a cycle. Once Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Zaheer retire, India too would face similar problems. I also agree with Mustafa7 despite the lean patch, Pakistan is producing talented players every now and then. But they could not sustain due to the policies of the Board. Even today I could not digest the exit of BASIT ALI from Int'l cricket. He is the player of Dravid's calibre. Even after this doldrums, they almost chased the target of 275. Give some more time to Pak players to show their calibre.

  • Dummy4 on September 12, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    @AhmedSaleem I havent said anything untoward about Pakistan here.Yeah majority of Pakistanis think the current spot-fixing fiasco as a conspiracy against them and I cant help but criticize this attitude from some section of the cricketing audience.Sure if any Indian Cricketer if caught red-handed like that will not get any backing whatsoever from the general public here as we even tore our cricketers apart literally when they play like they did in 2007 world cup.I was particularly enraged at someone mentioning Tendulkar involvement in match-fixing which is such nonsense as of now.Look if Tendulkar is involved in any wrong-doing then Cricket is almost dead and buried here.A huge chunk of fans would leave the game if such thing ever comes to light.

  • Mudasir on September 11, 2010, 12:54 GMT

    I dont understand why a player like razack is dropped and players like hafeez,fawad alam are playing .they cant hit the ball .razack is better batesmen then afridi .he is always made scape goat.waqar younis should go to high school for some education .

    1)kamran 2)hafeez 3)razack 4)yousuf 5)umer akmal 6)afridi 7)fawad alam 8)asad 9)umer gul 10)ajmal 11)akther

  • Dummy4 on September 11, 2010, 11:17 GMT

    sohail tanvir has had a surgery he isnt even playing domestic cricket afridi was struggling and his frustration got him out in the end well pakistan lost the match the moment asad shafiq got out but they fought well

  • Ahmad on September 11, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    Everyone, Please ignore all the comments which are spreading hatred. Don't use a pure cricketing forum to throw bad words at each other.@Asis Rout: Didn't expect this from you.

  • Ahmad on September 11, 2010, 10:47 GMT

    Afridi and Gul were dismal yesterday. Rest of them were pretty good but key players like Afridi and Gul had to step up to inspire a victory. But at least they are getting out of nerves. Akmals, Alam, Hafeez, Asaad and Ajmal played well. But Akhter was special. After a long time, I have watched him bowl with such skill. Unfortunately, he didn't get the reward. And in the end, Eid mubarik to all muslims and everyone.

  • Sanjeev on September 11, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    i dont know why this blog system becomes indo pak sl war, come on grow up why play the blame game, each and every team is good, good times and bad times are there dont criticize india pak for that matter learn from bopanna and kureshi the indo pak express, coming back to cricket i dont know may i ask my pakistani friends where is sohail tanvir is he injured or what? why dont u play him he was a revelation earlier and afridi please dont play those shots which may get u out... i love to see u, sehwag batting u r match turners,,,all the best pakistan team

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