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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricket on February 20, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    I hope the Pak selectors take a fresh look at their ODI setup. A change of gard is urgent. Misbah is a good Test captain and a decent enough Test player but ODI's have never been his forte. His place in the side was always questioned. After all Misbah is 37 and cannot be expected to play till the next Word Cup, so start moving on right now and prepare for the next Word Cup. The more delay they make, the more difficult it will keep getting. Now his Test style leadership in the ODI is absolutely exposed by a team which was completely lost about a week ago. Also Umar Gul has been given too long a rope.

  • Cricket on February 19, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    One thing stans out very clear in this ODI series. Misbah is not suitable to this format. Neither as captain nor as player. He should not be in the ODI team. Also Umar Gul, Younis Khan, Imran Farhat should not be in the ODI team. Infact Gul should not be in the test team also. Adnan Akmal was OK in the test team. But looking at the statistics Sarfraz Ahmed would have done better in the Test also. Dropping Sarfraz from the ODI squad was the biggest mistake of the selectors. Having seen Adnan in the 3rd ODI I am sure that Misbah will drop him in the last ODI. Adnan not only batted horribly but also dropped a cath, which is unforgiveable for a reguler wicket keeper.

  • Malti on February 19, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    I am sure if England has to play a Test Match again against Pakistan, again England will get beaten, though the margins may change slightly. Here England is winning because of faulty captaincy by Misbah. Lack of ODI batsmen in Pak. And also the fact that any bowler is restricted to 10 overs each. Had it been test matches Misbah would have started with spinners and ended with spinners with no respite for the English batsmen with a very attackiing field.

  • Malti on February 19, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    @ jmcilhinney on (Feb 18 2012, 19:43 PM GMT) :- I can't fully agree that that Shafiq was unlucky. After all he was careless and not alert, when he does not know where the ball is gone, he should not have gone half way the pitch.

  • dani on February 19, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    well done england..well done pieterson !! guess england r finally rising out of their 'cricket-less' season...jokes apart england really outclassed pakistan-in all departments..this time pak got their selection right but eng had some other plans..pak batting was fragile..i dont think there is something wrong with pak bowling but it is their batting which is letting them down, although it was immensely pleasing to see afridi scoring a fifty..6 down-4 to go..lets hope to see some good cricket.

  • Rayhan on February 19, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - the guy who posted that Broad was unsporting in trying to run-out Farhat knew very little, if anything about cricket. There was nothing unsporting in that incident. BTW, that guy could've been Farhat's father in law (who is the chief selector of PCB, in case you are unaware).

  • John on February 19, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    I'd like to add my approval t the idea of restructuring tours. I read a quote from an Australian not that long ago - I think it was Michael Clarke just before their SL tour - saying that they wanted to play the T20s first, followed by the ODIs, followed by the Tests. England seem to prefer things the other way around this tour's result are an indication that that is not the best option.

  • Dummy4 on February 19, 2012, 1:20 GMT

    First, congratulations to KP, since his form fructified into an entertaining century after a long gap. Second, I can't resist from making this observation. When England wins, there are less visitors to the blog, and we can also read comments written mostly in excellent English. (Of course, the awkward and sometimes unintentionally hilarious comments from those who handle English the way the Phantom form NZ handles batting, used to trigger a chuckle or two. But, not missing though)

  • John on February 18, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    @allblue: I agree entirely about the structure of tours. It's very evident that England are playing much better now they have become accustomed to playing in these conditions. The bowlers have done a good job throughout, but the batsmen needed to work out how to play on these wickets. It took them until now to do that. I'm not sure what you mean by 'a first series away win for five years'. England won ODI series in Bangladesh in 2010, in South Africa in 2009 and in West Indies, also in 2009. England aren't the best ODI team, but this side seems to have good balance and will be hard to beat for anyone in the next year or two.

  • Dummy4 on February 18, 2012, 22:28 GMT

    Peevish Argument of the Day: A good-spirited contest was spoiled by Broad's peevish inquisition of Aleem Dar after the umpire correctly signaled no-ball. Reminded me of his classless ball-slinging back at Zulqarnain in the England series. Once again Broad gets away with totally crass behavior.

    Even given the understandable frustration, Broad should have known better. And where was Captain Cook in all of this?

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