England v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, The Oval September 17, 2010

Gul takes six to inspire Pakistan to victory

218

Pakistan 241 (Fawad 64, Anderson 3-26) beat England 218 (Morgan 61, Strauss 57, Wright 48*, Gul 6-42) by 23 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Umar Gul produced a sensational career-best spell of 6 for 42 in ten full-length and late-swinging overs, as Pakistan's cricketers overcame their recent troubles to secure an emotionally charged victory under the floodlights at The Oval. In front of a packed house who lived every moment of another tense finale, Gul built on the new-ball efforts of Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq to defend a below-par total of 241, and keep the series alive at 2-1 down with two matches to come at Lord's and the Rose Bowl later this week.

During the mid-innings interval, Pakistan's total had appeared insubstantial, after a piecemeal performance in which Fawad Alam top-scored with a diligent 64, but no single partnership had been able to take a grip of the contest. England's response with the bat, however, lacked the authority they had displayed in the first two contests, and with Gul in the sort of form that forged his reputation as a limited-overs master, they failed to close out a contest that, in terms of pure run-rate, had been within their grasp throughout.

Three of England's batsmen made their mark with significant performances - Andrew Strauss continued his fine form with a 54-ball 57, Eoin Morgan showed typical authority in the middle of the innings with 61 from 74, while Luke Wright overcame a massive stroke of good fortune on 26 to finish on 48 not out - but with the exception of the opener Steven Davies, who made 18, no-one else reached double-figures as Pakistan mounted a vigorous defence on a chilly and intense evening's work. The coup de grace was delivered by Razzaq, who bowled James Anderson for 3 to secure their second victory in consecutive visits to The Oval this summer, following their four-wicket win in the third Test last month.

It was a double-dip recession of an innings from England. Though Strauss batted with his now-habitual fluency to push the score along at more than five runs an over, by the time he was bowled off the inside-edge to become the first of Gul's six victims, the rest of the top-four had already fallen cheaply.

Davies was bowled through the gate by Razzaq before Jonathan Trott, needing five runs to pass 1000 in all internationals this summer, was exquisitely yorked by Shoaib for 2, whereupon Ravi Bopara - in another unconvincing foray - snicked a thin edge off Saeed Ajmal to fall for 7 from 15 balls. One over later, and Michael Yardy - whose third-ball reprieve by Kamran Akmal ultimately forced the keeper to leave the field with a broken finger - was trapped lbw by a bamboozling late swinger from Gul, to leave England teetering on 103 for 5.

Cue more magnificence from Morgan, as he and Luke Wright reinflated the innings with a run-a-ball partnership of 98 in 17.2 overs. In similar circumstances to those that he had faced against Australia at the Rose Bowl back in June, he picked the gaps with outrageous ambidextrous improvisation that he somehow made to look run-of-the-mill, while Wright - back in the side following an illness to Paul Collingwood - provided sensible support of the more conventional biff-and-block variety. Wright, however, should have fallen on 26, when Umar Akmal, the substitute keeper, whipped off the bails with his back foot clearly in the air. But umpire Doctrove - he of the 2006 Oval controversy - somehow decided that a replay wasn't necessary.

The pivotal moment of the match, however, came in the 39th over, with England seemingly cruising to their series victory on 201 for 5, with 41 still needed from 72 deliveries. So long as Morgan remained, the result was a foregone conclusion, but when Gul strayed onto his pads, he rashly leant into an airy clip over midwicket, and picked out the substitute Wahab Riaz at deep square leg. Three balls later, Tim Bresnan's off stump was extracted for a duck, and though Stuart Broad was a handy man to have at No. 9, he could do nothing about a raucous delivery that crashed into middle. And when Graeme Swann slapped the last delivery of Gul's spell to cover, England had shed four wickets for 10 runs in five overs. And from there, there was no recovery.

It was the culmination of an impressive recovery from Pakistan, after their own innings had flirted with disaster right at the start of the day. After being asked to bowl first on a bright but chilly day, Anderson was the star of England's show with an eye-opening display of attacking seam bowling - as opposed to the swing-based method that has earned him his rewards to date this summer. He claimed 3 for 26 in ten exemplary overs, to spearhead a bowling effort that never allowed a free-spirited batting order to flourish.

Anderson took little time to prove a menace on a pitch with decent bounce, as he snagged Mohammad Hafeez's outside edge with the final ball of his opening over, before Bresnan bowled Kamran Akmal for 5, via an unlucky deflection off his thigh pad. At 8 for 2 after 2.4 overs, Pakistan's performance was heading down the pan, and their situation got worse at 31 for 3 when Anderson nailed Mohammad Yousuf with a nip-backer that replays showed would have trimmed the top of the bails.

Fawad and Asad Shafiq did their best to regroup in uncomfortable circumstances, before Shafiq holed out against Swann to leave his team on 95 for 4, and their prospects dipped even further five overs later when Umar Akmal - not a batsman who will ever die wondering - tried to hook Bresnan off his eyebrows as he charged down the wicket, but managed only a top-edge to Swann at fine leg. Afridi showed signs of a return to form before running himself out as he deflected a shy from square leg onto his own stumps for 34, and Razzaq chipped in with a lusty 31 to give the innings some late impetus. But without Gul's efforts, victory could never have been achieved.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dmqi on September 20, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    I am not a fan of Pak PCB and its chairman Ejajz Butt. In fact I have supported his resignation/removal. But looking at the ways things are going on now, I believe that there is some conspiracy/money matters under the curtain. When Pak collapsed in Australia/NZ, many believed that the Pak players have taken a self imposed defeat. When they lost a test to Australia, everyone believed that Kamran dropped the catches on purpose. But when England collapsed in 3rd ODI, anyone will doubt why such a strong batting line up failed and Gul had everyone bowled out. Should not ICC investigate that instead of Pak players investigated. I do not understand this. Can anyone tell me what Pak players in 3rd ODI did, which caused ICC to launch an investigation all on a sudden without informing PCB. This will certainly cast doubt on ICC as a fair broker. Why I do not see cricket writers like HERSA or ANDY to write some blogs on this issue. Where are you guys?

  • ghome on September 20, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    This latest allegation and the action of ICC is looking more and more absurd and fishy! Quesations must be asked about the authenticity of evidence provided by Sun which compelled Haroon Lorgat to publicly announce an investigation of the Pak team when anyone with an ounce of commonsense would first look at the sudden collapse of the english team from 201 for 5 to 218 all out. It appears that the buffoon of the PCB chief (Ijaz Butt) has finally got some sense and is asking the obvious question! Is the whole thing being orchestrated by some vested interests through their puppet , the ICC? What role in this affair is being played by Haroon Lorgat along with Mazar Majeed, Mazar Mahmoud and the two English tabloids , Sun and NOTW?Also,if the reports are true, some actions by Scotland Yard in their investigation , such as searching of players' rooms without their knowledge appear to be highly irregular and inappropriate. Is there a conspiracy to nail Pak team by hook or by crook afoot?

  • dummy4fb on September 19, 2010, 19:55 GMT

    Can somone stop the PCB chief from speaking without evidence. If he has evidence, shoukd he not bring it in public domain?

  • Blueangle on September 19, 2010, 18:16 GMT

    May be this is little bit of overstretch but Pakistan should consider all aspects of the issue. Is Pakistan paying the price of not supporting the John Howard's nomination? Why Pakistan supported the anti-Howard move and where are countries which were at the forefronts of rejecting the Howard's nomination? Did they come forward to support PCB when PCB is in trouble? Ney........ Probably some of them are part of this conspiracy (if this is a conspiracy and from the most recent episode it seems it is indeed). I am not sure about the authenticity of the first part (Amir/Asif/ Salman) of this issue, may be they were involved, or trapped or whatever but recent allegations clearly show there is some thing fishy. Are pakistani player so stupid that when every camera lens is zoomed on them and they know that if they are caught they will be banned for life, still they dare to fix the game. Come on ICC!! Use some common sense.

  • Blueangle on September 19, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    PCB should blame no other than themselves. They have yielded so much to ICC and other powerful (in terms of money) cricketing nations that no one takes them seriously anymore. They know that PCB is totally spineless, could easily be silenced by few threats or few thousand dollars. If they would have taken a strong /principled stance on certain issues such as moving of world cup matches, John Howard nomination etc, ICC would have never dared to treat Pakistan like this. Its pity that PCB is still headed by a dumb head political appointee, who doesn't know when to speak, what to speak and whom to speak. Trust me Pakistani Cricket fans, as long as this idiot is the head of PCB, such things (attack on Sri-Lankan team, world cup hosting right, spot fixing/allegations etc) will happen to Pakistan cricket more often then not.

  • dummy4fb on September 19, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    Oh and if the allegations are proved false, You better bet the house that the PCB will sue the NOTW, Sun and ICC for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages that they have caused to The three player's reputation, Loss of time, Loss of apparent and potential wages, Mental torture to the players and their families related to them, Mental torture to the PCB members and staff, Endangering lives of the players by putting them in a position where they mightve been a target of violence, Endangering lives of the related PCB members and staff, Damage to pakistan's reputation

    Not to mention lost deals within Pakistan due to the scandal,i heard that runs in at at least 500 million pounds, im sure we have the documents to prove how much business this scandal has cost use :)

    Trust me, every single party involved in this will pay. This is 2010, you cannot go around accusing people with no evidence and expect them to forget about it. What NOTW paid out ashley cole and the beckhams is nothing..

  • smasood_ali on September 19, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    All my friends. I posted a 1000 word letter which is still not published. So i posted few questions which were not published . I am posting them again. Try to answer theses

    i) Why Kamran Akmal is still in the team despite of batting failure and drop catches? ii) Do someone internal wants him to be playing as a wicket keeper? iii) How come newspapers get to know these kind of these before? iv) Why these 3 players? Why not all of them v) Majeed is been in and out of India which sounds a game plan?

    I hope this time my comments will be published

  • aceruser on September 19, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    English Newspaper is just trying to get publicity out of this tour, since they know these days Pakistan have weak team and weak administration thats why they are all over Pakistan. But let me make it clear to all ICC lover and ECB lovers, Pakistani nation is neither blind not dumb. We have not come from Mars, we live in the same world where all other ICC full memeber nations live. So we know what ICC and other cricketing nations are trying to achieve. I am forced to think, ICC might be involve in this all spot fixing saqa.

  • DeepuGeorge on September 19, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    What these Pakistani players (if proven guilty) have done to cricket is irreparable. Any player found to be involved in any form of spot or match fixing should receive a life ban. Sadly, they cannot do anything right anymore. On their day, they are the side to beat. However, otherwise, a very ordinary side. Corruption is in all forms of the game. The team's management must oversee that their players are not in any way misled by these `pest bookmakers'. Having said that, let's not have two different standards within the ICC. Players like Herschelle Gibbs, Shane Warne, Mark Waugh, Mohammed Azhurrdein, just to name a few got away with it. This should have never happened in the first place ............

  • AK47_pk on September 19, 2010, 12:23 GMT

    its look like english are blaming pakistan to hide what they did.....blame them so nobody will point at english players the way they lost match....WELL DONE PAK TEAM :)...NOW ITS VERY CLEAR THAT AMIR , ASIF ,ND BUT ARE BEING FRAMED BY THESE PPL TO PUNISH THEM FOR BRINGING PAK TEAM BACK IN TO WINNING...

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