England contrive to tame Lions
England warmed up for the limited-overs series versus Pakistan by comfortably chasing a contrived target of 230 after dismissing England Lions for 96 at Abu Dhabi.
Ahead of Monday’s first of four one-day internationals, also at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, England’s attack - minus the rested Stuart Broad - proved they are in fine fettle by demolishing the Lions.
Jade Dernbach took the first three wickets and Steven Finn left them 14 for four. Skipper James Taylor launched a minor recovery, which Chris Woakes continued, but the Lions were all out in 28.3 overs thanks to Finn’s third scalp.
With the revised target meaning the game had lost its List A status, England’s new opening duo Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen put on 79 either side of the interval and, once Pietersen went for 41, Jonathan Trott added 72 with his captain.
Cook departed for 68, but Ravi Bopara supported Trott in a stand worth 69 before the number three helped secure victory with 4.1 overs to spare.
England were also boosted by Tim Bresnan’s return to action, after missing the Test rubber due to due to post-operative pain in his right elbow, but Jos Buttler sat out - having split the webbing in his left hand while with the Lions in Sri Lanka.
Dernbach and Finn - who claimed 3-21 and 3-28 respectively - proved lethal with the new ball.
Dernbach struck with his first delivery when he shaped one slightly away from Alex Hales, who failed to cover off stump and therefore lost it to go for a golden duck.
Joe Root had square-driven Finn for four, but was then pinned lbw on the crease by Dernbach - whose next victim was James Vince, pulling aerially and well caught by Samit Patel at midwicket.
Finn was bowling well too, and got his reward when a reluctant Jonny Bairstow had to go caught behind via an apparent inside edge on a ball that snaked back into him.
It almost got even better for Finn and England, but Taylor somehow just evaded Pietersen at gully with a loose push on four. Taylor nonetheless decided a counter-attack was in order, and he soon had more than half his team’s total.
Moeen Ali was unable to keep him company for long, edging an attempted drive off Graeme Swann to slip. Taylor went too, for 30, with an outside edge behind off Bresnan - and Swann had Scott Borthwick lbw pushing forward to an off-break from round the wicket.
It was therefore thanks only to the Lions’ top-scorer Woakes - who made 32 - and a last-wicket stand of 27 with Jack Brooks, the highest of the innings, that England were kept waiting for long.
Cook and Pietersen, returning to the opening role he occupied at last year’s World Cup, reached 70 without loss from 15 overs by what was intended to be a mid-innings break.
Woakes soon had Pietersen, who hit five fours, caught behind - but Trott picked up the baton. Cook found the rope seven times - all fours - before being stumped off Danny Briggs, a member of the senior party.
Bopara struck three fours until falling to Borthwick, but Trott - one of whose eight boundaries was a six - and Eoin Morgan finished the job.