Pakistan v England, 3rd ODI, Dubai February 18, 2012

Pietersen steals the show

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the 3rd ODI between Pakistan and England in Dubai

Shot of the day
The problem with watching Kevin Pietersen bat for any length of time is that it tends to render everything else as dull and colourless by comparison. Here his eighth ODI century - and his first since November 2008 - included two sixes and ten fours. But perhaps the most resounding stroke of the lot came the ball after he reached his century: a thunderous pull off Aizaz Cheema that went through mid on at the speed of a bullet.

Selection of the day
The decision to recall Adnan Akmal had two benefits. Firstly it allowed Pakistan to field a competent wicketkeeper and secondly it relieved the burden on his brother, Umar, who was allowed to concentrate on his batting. It paid immediate dividends: Umar contributed a polished half-century and helped Shahid Afridi add 79 for Pakistan's sixth wicket just as it appeared their innings would stall. Pakistan look a better balanced side for the decision.

Let-off of the day
Stuart Broad has been such a model of consistency over the last few months that his first over here came as some surprise. Not only did it cost 16 runs but Broad also surrendered a potential wicket when he had Mohammad Hafeez, on 17, caught at point only to realise he had over-stepped. It might have proved a costly mistake but Broad soon responded, not conceding a run in his next two overs and picking up a couple of wickets in the process.

Drop of the day
Kevin Pietersen had insisted this week that, against plenty of evidence to the contrary, he felt in good form. All he required, he said, was a little slice of fortune and the runs would come. So it proved here. Hitting the ball with more power and better timing than on any occasion on the tour, Pietersen was looking in fine touch until, on 45, he pulled a delivery from Aizaz Cheema powerfully but straight to Azhar Ali at deep square leg. But the fielder put the chance down allowing Pietersen to record his highest ODI score since November 2008 and, with his captain, establish a new record opening partnership for England against Pakistan in this format. Indeed, it equalled the England ODI record partnership for any wicket against Pakistan.

Fortune of the day
Asad Shahfiq looked as if he had regained his ground with ease when diving to beat Alastair Cook's throw. But replays showed that, while Shahfiq had regained his ground, his bat had bounced as it hit the pitch and, at the moment the bails were removed, it was in the air. As a result, Shafiq's stubborn innings was ended and he was left to reflect on a game that can sometimes seem a little unjust.

Lucky miss of the day
Both Test and ODI series have been played in good spirit. So it is perhaps just as well that Adnan Akmal's throw at the stumps missed after Pietersen had, after defending a delivery from Shahid Afridi, rolled the ball with his bat back to the Pakistan keeper in an effort to be friendly. "I apologised for that," Misbah-ul-Haq said afterwards. "The keeper apologised, too. We said sorry."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo