England home in on whitewash
February 21, Dubai
Start time 1500 (1100 GMT)
The Big Picture
This time it's Pakistan who have only pride to play for. England are in search of a whitewash that will give some solace following the reversal in the Test series and, given how they have dominated in the one-dayers so far, they are strong favourites to complete the cleansweep.
A 4-0 margin will move England up to fourth in the ICC rankings, nothing to write home amount in itself but a sign that progress is already being made in the 50-over format. The conditions they have faced in this series haven't quite replicated the subcontinent at its toughest - that will come against India early next year - but neither is the next World Cup going to be held on dustbowls.
England's quick bowlers have been outstanding throughout the tour and now they are being led by Steven Finn. The fact Tim Bresnan hasn't been able to walk back into the team - match readiness or not - shows how strong England's options have become.
Pakistan appear at a turning point with their one-day side. With an eye on the next World Cup they need to give the likes of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq a chance to bed in even if it means short-term pain. They also need a better plan B when their spinners don't dominate. Umar Gul's form has been a major problem and they may need to look again at some new pace options.
Form guide(Most recent first)
Watch out for...
There are signs, albeit small ones at the moment, that Eoin Morgan is emerging from the form slump that engulfed his performances in the Test series. A couple of unbeaten innings have enabled him to feel bat on ball and he was promoted to No. 3 in the previous game. Long term he is still a perfect finisher for England, and if Morgan can produce a significant score it will be another tick.
Pakistan need more from Mohammad Hafeez. Since he made 88 in the opening Test against England he has had a number of starts without building a substantial innings. In the third ODI he had taken the attack to Stuart Broad only to fall two overs later for 29. He's wasting form that Pakistan can ill-afford not to make the most if. His offspin has also lost some of its effectiveness as England's batsmen take a more positive approach.
It's anyone's guess what Pakistan will do, especially as a number of players are suffering from flu. A dead ODI would appear the perfect chance to play Hammad Azam, the allrounder, while it also offers the chance to look at Junaid Khan, perhaps at the expense of the struggling Gul.
Pakistan (possible) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Imran Farhat, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Adnan Akmal (wk), 8 Shahid Afridi, 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 Junaid Khan, 11 Aizaz Cheema
England's only questions are rest and rotation. Jos Buttler and Tim Bresnan were both expected to figure in this series but injuries meant being sat on the sidelines. It's now hard to find space in the team, although Bresnan for James Anderson remains a logical switch.
England (possible) 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Kevin Pietersen, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 7 Samit Patel, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steven Finn
Pitch and conditions
The surface for Saturday's game produced more pace and bounce than has been seen throughout the tour which certainly didn't suit Pakistan's game. Neither did batting first help them much. The same pitch is due to be used again which means there may be a little more assistance for the spinners.
Stats and trivia
- The most wickets by an England bowler in a one-day series is 15 in six matches by Paul Jarvis against India, in 1992-93, and Steven Finn currently has 11 scalps in three games.
- Alastair Cook is currently fourth in the list of most runs scored in a one-day series for England
- England have completed 10 previous whitewashes in a series of at least three matches while Pakistan have been whitewashed six times.
"We did not bowl properly, we did not bat properly and we did not field properly. We haven't played to our potential."
Mohsin Khan, Pakistan's coach, is aware his side have some improving to do
"Even though I spent some time in India before Christmas, it doesn't replicate what you're up against. But I've played a lot of subcontinent cricket and I should be used to it. I wasn't, and my skill levels weren't up to scratch."
England batsman Eoin Morgan admits he has been well below his best
Edited by Alan Gardner
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo