1st One-Day International, Lahore

Pakistan v England

Simon Briggs

At Lahore, December 10, 2005 (day/night). England won by 42 runs. Toss: England. One-day international debut: L. E. Plunkett.

England sprinted into an unexpected lead with their most complete performance of the tour. Their batting was note perfect: Strauss laid down the bass-line with a responsible 94, rotating the strike Thorpishly and allowing Pietersen and Flintoff to improvise. Each man dropped effortlessly into his allotted role: in one memorable four-over sequence, Pietersen cudgelled 41 while Strauss shuffled around for six singles and a two. A total of 327 was easily England's highest overseas, beating 306 at Karachi five years earlier. Yet it was still a long way from impregnable, particularly given their green-tinged attack; at 160 for two in the 23rd over, Pakistan looked dangerous. Flintoff 's early overs were unusually profligate, but when he returned to winkle out Younis Khan, England took control. Plunkett showed impressive nerve and accuracy while picking up three late wickets in his first one-day international. England's win had a certain rarity value: the last time they had beaten serious opposition batting first was in September 2004.

Man of the Match: A. J. Strauss.

© Wisden Cricketers' Almanack