Pakistan v England, 1st ODI, Abu Dhabi February 13, 2012

Classy Cook above them all

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the 1st ODI between Pakistan and England in Abu Dhabi

Shot of the day
The cut that brought Alastair Cook his third ODI century: confident, clean and classy. Cook's place in the side had been questioned by some - mainly former players - in the run-up to this series. His vastly improved record as a batsman since he became captain had largely been ignored. As had the fact that England beat both World Cup finalists in the English summer. Cook, shrugging off the struggles of his teammates, produced his second century since assuming the ODI captaincy. If you want to put his innings in context, look at the next highest scores in the match: 50 in the England innings and just 28 in the Pakistan innings. Cook stood head and shoulders above them all.

Mistake of the day
Umar Akmal's missed stumping of Ravi Bopara was not the easiest chance - the ball from Mohammad Hafeez passed between Bopara's legs - but it may reignite the perennial debate about the balance between selecting a specialist wicketkeeper and a batsman who keeps wicket. Umar Akmal is very much the latter. Bopara was one at the time. By going on to score 50, he became one of only two men in the England side to pass 17. It was a costly miss.

Ball of the day
Shahid Afridi's legbreak to dismiss Kevin Pietersen was a thing of beauty: drifting in, luring the batsman into a stroke, then turning just enough to clip the off stump. And all at around 60mph. Whatever the state of his batting - and one half-century in his last 26 ODIs tells its own story - Afridi would surely win selection in any side simply on the strength of his bowling. It also put Pietersen out of his considerable misery. Promoted to the top of the order to provide England with a bit of impetus, Pietersen instead laboured over 36 balls for his 14 runs. It was painful to watch.

Catch of the day
Craig Kieswetter's catch to dismiss Younis Khan came in the middle of a distinctly sharp spell of well-directed seam bowling from Steven Finn. Younis, drawn forward by Finn's excellent length, was beaten by one that nipped back just a fraction, resulting in an inside edge that flew at pace to the keeper. Kieswetter, obliged to change direction, made a tricky chance look deceptively simple. He might not be scoring the runs required of him but the evidence suggests Kieswetter is continuing to improve as a wicketkeeper. The stumping of Umar Akmal was impressive, too.

Confusion of the day
It would appear that Shoaib Malik does not understand the rules of DRS. Having called for a review of an lbw decision given against him when he had scored just one, Malik started to walk off when the replay on the big screen showed the ball hitting the stumps but having made impact with his pads outside the line. He had to be called back to resume his innings.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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