Match Facts

September 4, Cardiff
Start time 10.30am (0930GMT)

Big Picture

Bulawayo, October 13, 2001. Nasser Hussain was England captain. That was the scene of their only previous whitewash in an ODI series of five or more matches. It shouldn't be the most significant milestone for this England side if they can complete the clean sweep over Pakistan in Cardiff - given Pakistan's form, anything other than a home victory would be a surprise - but it would be another staging post in their rapid upward curve.

The run chase at Headingley was the most pressure England had been under during this series when they slipped to 72 for 4. They passed the test with flying colours, significant contributions coming from three players - Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali - who had not had major roles to play with the bat up till then.

Another hard-fought win would not be a bad thing, either, as the side continues to became battle-hardened ahead of next summer's Champions Trophy, where, given the short nature of the tournament, one bad day can be terminal for any ambitions. The next time England play in Cardiff, it will be their second group match against New Zealand.

Pakistan, too, have their focus on the Champions Trophy - at least they are assured of a place there, unlike the 2019 World Cup, for which automatic qualification is becoming an increasingly tough challenge. Mickey Arthur hasn't shied away from some honesty during this series - he termed the last four matches "eye-opening" after Headingley, which could mean bad news for a number of players - and sees next year's event as a significant target amid the rebuilding.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)
England WWWWW
Pakistan LLLLW

In the spotlight

Jason Roy began the series in fine style with a Man-of-the-Match-winning performance at the Ageas Bowl, but it has been quieter for him since: bowled second ball by Mohammad Amir at Lord's, gloving a pull during England's world-record mayhem at Trent Bridge, and edging to second slip at Headingley. It is nothing to dwell on for long, but a significant contribution here would cap a one-day summer where he has cemented his place at the top of the order. He also needs 32 more to complete 1000 runs in ODIs.

Swansea-born Imad Wasim is returning to his roots for this match. He has been a rare bright spot for Pakistan in the series, especially with his feisty batting down the order, and is yet to be dismissed while making 137 runs at a strike-rate of 104.58. He was the only batsman to play with any fluency in Pakistan's innings at Headingley - and is also their most economical bowler in the series - so he seems certain to be one of a small number of players in the squad to have assured his immediate future.

Team news

Jos Buttler was still experiencing tightness in his hamstring, which forced him to miss the previous game, and it would appear unlikely that he'd be risked, which means another chance for Bairstow. The last time England played here, they left out Moeen to play an extra quick because of the short, straight boundary, but Stokes' presence with the ball means Moeen will probably be retained this time.

England (probable) 1 Alex Hales, 2 Jason Roy, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 David Willey, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Chris Jordan, 11 Liam Plunkett

Mohammad Irfan, who suffered cramps at Headingley after just five overs, has returned home. Mohammad Amir, who was rested for that game, is likely to replace him.

Pakistan (possible) 1 Sami Aslam, 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Azhar Ali (capt), 4 Babar Azam, 5 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 6 Mohammad Rizwan, 7 Mohammad Nawaz, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Mohammad Amir

Pitch and conditions

It rained heavily on Saturday, but the forecast for match day is much better. The pitch is normally good for international cricket, and the short, straight boundaries can be enticing for the batsmen.

Stats and trivia

  • The lowest strike-rate of an England player in the XI at Headingley - when the match was completed - was David Willey's 81.17. When they lost against Bangladesh at the 2015 World Cup, to exit the tournament, they had seven players with strike-rates under 80.
  • After his 3 for 47 at Headingley, Adil Rashid is now the leading ODI wicket-taker since the last World with 38 scalps at 38.36, although he has played nine games more than second-placed Kagiso Rabada and seven more than fellow legspinner Imran Tahir, who is third.
  • Moeen's straight six to win the fourth match was England's 157th ODI six since the last World Cup - that is 29 clear of New Zealand, who are the next best. Perhaps surprisingly, Pakistan are third with 108, although from considerably more matches than the top two.
  • Quotes

    "I haven't got that many wickets in one-dayers this summer, but feel like I've bowled quite tight and that's important. Me and Rash bowl well as a partnership, he's more of a wicket-taker than me."
    Moeen Ali has enjoyed working alongside Adil Rashid

    "Everyone makes mistakes, as long as you learn from them. You have to be positive, what happened in the past you can't change it."
    Azhar Mahmood, Pakistan's bowling coach, was looking forward, not back

    Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo