England v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, The Rose Bowl September 5, 2006

Experience counts for Pakistan

Pakistan 274 for 8 (Younis 101, Yousuf 60, Inzamam-ul-Haq 44*) beat England 271 for 9 (Dalrymple 62, Collingwood 61, Strauss 50) by two wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out - England
How they were out - Pakistan

Younis Khan's magical hundred was the difference between the two sides © Getty Images

A superbly crafted hundred from Younis Khan defied an improved allround performance from England as Pakistan won their second game on the trot to take a 2-0 series lead. Pakistan were made to work for their victory, however, and for the first time in an ODI this summer, England competed on a near-to-even keel.

Surprisingly, it was only Younis's second hundred, following his 144 against Hong Kong in 2004, but such is his selflessness that seldom does he bat only for himself. Today's ton was a perfect example in pacing an innings; consolidating from the early losses, rotating the strike before gradually accelerating to dominate the opposition. Such is the inexperience of England's attack that Pakistan cruised along in the middle of their innings and though they threatened to implode in the dying overs, Younis was the difference.

He arrived at the crease with Pakistan on 2 for 1, joining Mohammad Hafeez who was bristling with aggression, smashing Jon Lewis for an enourmous six over midwicket. But Hafeez failed to respond to Younis's call for a quick single and was largely outdone by a superb piece of fielding from Andrew Strauss at cover, whose throw while diving at full stretch left him stranded.

Angry at the complacency, this appeared to prod Younis into life and a flurry of boundaries brought up his 26th one-day fifty. The recall of Sajid Mahmood in place of Darren Gough, whose international resurrection is now surely over, was nothing more than shuffling chairs on the Titanic. A gifted bowler, with natural pace and bounce, he desperately needs an experienced role model in the one-day team, or a mentor at least. His first five overs were dispatched for 36 and only sporadically did he threaten the batsmen.

While Younis opened his shoulders to register a marvellous hundred, Mohammad Yousuf was hamstrung by his hamstring, requiring the use of a runner - a recipe for disaster for any Pakistan side - but calamitous run-outs were avoided by the constant battering of boundaries. Yousuf calmly and clinically dispatched anything short or wide from Mahmood - there was plenty, and often too - and slowly the pair edged England out of the game. Their record third-wicket partnership of 167 was finally broken by Stuart Broad whose clever slower ball accounted for Younis. Yousuf soon followed, bowled by Dalrymple for a sedate 60 from 103 balls.

Rana Naved-ul-Hasan leaps for joy after dismissing Kevin Pietersen © Getty Images
Pakistan still needed a further 55, and immediately lost Shahid Afridi. Inzamam, forever present, continued to take Pakistan to the brink, despite the loss of Abdul Razzaq and Kamran Akmal in successive balls. It was a brilliant cameo from Pakistan's captain, smashing the hapless Rikki Clarke for four to seal the match. England pushed them, but their inexperience told.

Whereas Younis went on to score a hundred, neither of England's three half-centurions - Strauss, Paul Collingwood and Dalrymple - could go on. Strauss, in particular, looked confident and settled at the crease, taking advantage of some truly wretched Pakistan fielding. Fielding has long been the runt of the Pakistan family, and it continued today. Lazy, mistimed dives in the outfield; kicking balls across the boundary rope - and worse - let down a bowling attack which, for once, wasn't quite at its potent best. Indeed, Inzamam proved the most athletic (and committed) of the fielders, which rather sums up their effort.

That Pakistan still won at a relative canter sums up England's one-day woes quite succinctly. Though their batsmen at last showed some intent, the clueless bowling - particularly by Clarke, but also from Mahmood - opened the door for Pakistan, and their strokemakers crow-barred their way in.

Will Luke is editorial assistant of Cricinfo