Bell guides England to rare win
England 237 for 2 (Bell 86*, Strauss 78) beat Pakistan 235 for 8 (Razzaq 75*, Inzamam 47, Yardy 3-24) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out - Pakistan
How they were out - England
In contrast to many recent displays, England did almost everything right with their debutant, Michael Yardy, claiming three wickets. Pakistan only gained a foothold for four overs, but it was dramatic while it lasted, as Abdul Razzaq launched a late charge as 70 came in 28 balls for the ninth wicket.
There were no such fireworks at the start of England's chase as England set about weathering the new ball. Pakistan thought they had an early strike when Strauss edged Mohammad Asif low to Inzamam-ul-Haq at first slip, but Strauss stood his ground and the umpires went to the TV replay. The pictures suggested the ball just grazed the grass before Inzamam got his fingers underneath and Strauss was given the benefit of the doubt.
Inzamam was far from impressed and approached Daryl Harper at the end of the over before the situation defused. Strauss wasn't affected and continued to find the middle of his bat, but Ed Joyce was undone by a delivery from Asif that seamed away and Kamran Akmal took a sharp catch.
However, any pressure on the batsmen was released as Naved and Razzaq produced wayward opening spells. Strauss punished anything off line through his favourite areas square of the wicket. Razzaq went for three boundaries in his first over and Bell later carted Naved for three consecutive fours as England upped the tempo.
Strauss ticked past his second fifty in two matches off 72 balls as Inzamam, having witnessed Yardy and Jamie Dalrymple turn the ball, brought in his slow bowlers. However, they found far less purchase - possibly because of the evening dew - making it a simple task for Strauss and Bell to milk the bowling at the required rate, which only notched above five for a few overs.
Mohammad Hafeez provided a breakthrough, when Strauss was bowled behind his legs, but Bell, whose fifty came off 53 balls, continued to be England's stand-out batsman of the series. One crunching cover drive off Shoaib Akhtar confirmed which way the result was heading and rivalled any of the blows Razzaq managed. Pakistan were notably off their game, Shoaib didn't hit 90mph, and the fielding continued to cause concerns.
For once, England had managed to take wickets in clusters and Pakistan struggled for momentum until Razzaq's late blast. Jon Lewis and Sajid Mahmood reduced them to 41 for 3 and though Inzamam and Mohmmad Yousuf staged a recovery it was never at a great rate. Yousuf struggled manfully, facing 80 balls, before he chopped-on to hand Yardy his first ODI wicket. He quickly had two more when Shoaib Malik spooned a return catch, then Inzamam went two runs later - also lobbing a catch, this time to Dalrymple.
When Akmal edged to slip for Yardy's third wicket, Pakistan were 138 for 7 and a decent target was looking a long way away. However, Razzaq had been given a life by Strauss, at slip, on 6 and he exploded in the closing overs. He carted 26 off the 49th over, bowled by Mahmood, with two massive sixes over midwicket and reached his half-century from 65 balls, while Lewis's last two overs cost 29.
England, though, recovered their composure through the interval and had plenty to spare when Pietersen thumped the winning runs. A single one-day victory doesn't make a summer, but England will have started to wonder where the next one was coming from. Now there is all to play for at Edgbaston.
Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo