5th One-Day International, Rawalpindi

Pakistan v England

Simon Briggs

At Rawalpindi, December 21, 2005 (day/night). England won by six runs. Toss: England. Oneday international debut: Mohammad Asif.

With the series lost, England achieved a win they badly wanted: to gain ranking points to avoid pre-qualification for the 2006 Champions Trophy - and to return to England without feeling wholly embarrassed. Batting first, they were indebted to yet another tail-end rally - this time from Plunkett, who carved 15 runs from the final over, bowled by Abdul Razzaq, to lift their patchy innings past 200. Though Inzamam-ul-Haq and Shoaib Akhtar were absent, two more wickets from the consistent Naved-ul-Hasan gave him nine in the series, the most by any bowler on either side. From 122 for two in the 32nd over, Pakistan really should have cantered home. But Yasir Hameed took an age - 57 in 105 balls - and time pressure hurried the middle order into indiscretions against Blackwell, who turned the ball as much as anyone. Anderson was left to close out the game with some useful slower balls and yorkers. England's bowlers did well to cover for the absence of Flintoff, who played as a specialist batsman after tweaking his ankle and was then substituted. Thus ended his glorious year.

Man of the Match: J. M. Anderson. Man of the Series: Kamran Akmal.

© Wisden Cricketers' Almanack