Déjà vu in Abu Dhabi
Another hundred from Alastair Cook and fifty from Ravi Bopara plus Steven Finn matching his best limited-overs international figures helped England double their series lead at Abu Dhabi.
Cook, who struck 137 on Monday, and Bopara mimicked their milestones in the opening win at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium before Finn again returned 4-34 from 10 overs.
Today’s victory was much closer - by 20 runs rather than 130 - but means England can seal a series success by avoiding defeat in Saturday’s third ODI at Dubai.
Cook became the ninth England player and first captain to score consecutive one-day international hundreds, further confounding the critics who argued he was not worth his place.
The left-hander, dropped on 28 by wicketkeeper Umar Akmal, picked up where he left off on Monday with a combination of sweetly-struck fours and effective strike rotation.
He shared an opening stand of 67 with Kevin Pietersen, added 49 with number three Jonathan Trott and enjoyed a 78-run alliance with Bopara until departing for 102.
Bopara joined forces with Eoin Morgan for a partnership worth 56 before falling for 58 from the last ball of the innings as the tourists posted 250 for four.
Pakistan openers Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Farhat combined for 61 but, once separated, the designated hosts lost regular wickets in the face of impressive bowling.
That came most notably from paceman Finn, who on Monday knocked over the top order but today took four of Pakistan’s last six wickets.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, the only Pakistan player besides Farhat to make more than a start, matched the opener's 47 as his side came up short.
Cook stuck with a winning formula courtesy of an unchanged side and choosing to bat first. Pakistan made three alterations with Azhar Ali, Abdur Rehman and Aizaz Cheema respectively replacing Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik and Wahab Riaz.
Umar Gul’s opening maiden was in contrast to Cheema’s wayward first over; his nine balls featured seven runs from wides.
With the opening batsmen into their stride, Cook struck consecutive fours off Cheema and Pietersen did likewise off Gul as 49 came from the mandatory powerplay.
Pietersen survived Pakistan’s sole review, for lbw during a Shahid Afridi maiden, with replays showing the ball was not hitting enough of leg stump to overturn the original decision.
Umar could not hold Cook’s faint edge off Afridi, but Saeed Ajmal’s introduction in the immediately-taken bowling powerplay yielded Pietersen’s wicket - plumb lbw for 26.
Trott opened his account with a cut four from a rare loose Ajmal delivery and, with 23 taken during the latest fielding restrictions, Misbah’s cautious field allowed the second-wicket duo rotate the strike.
Cook brought up his fifty with a single off Cheema to point. However, the seamer soon had Trott caught behind for 23 as the right-hander attempted to cut.
Cheema could have had another when Cook edged him wide of a solitary slip for four, but there was no fortune in the batsman’s elegant cover-driven riposte.
Rehman completed his allocation for only 36 runs and, with England obliged to take the batting powerplay after 35 overs, Bopara cut Gul for four to herald the half-century alliance in 60 balls.
In his next over, Cook clipped Gul effortlessly to the midwicket fence and guided him to the opposite side of the ground to move to 99. A thick edge to third man off Ajmal took Cook to three figures.
The powerplay yielded 38 but Cook did not last much longer, chipping a simple return catch to Afridi - whose 10 overs cost 38 - having hit 10 fours.
Following six boudaryless overs against effective death bowling, Morgan slog-swept Ajmal for six and Bopara narrowly cleared long-on for a one-bounce four to bring up the half-century partnership in 51 deliveries. However, Cheema had revenge when Bopara skied to Umar - leaving Morgan unbeaten on 25.
Stuart Broad could not match James Anderson and Finn’s early economy, conceding three fours to Hafeez who - with Pakistan having taken 33 from the first 10 overs - lofted Graeme Swann to the long-off boundary.
Cook’s decision to take the bowling powerplay at the earliest opportunity paid off when Hafeez, on 26, clipped Anderson to midwicket.
Craig Kieswetter failed to hold a tough chance to snare Farhat, who deflected Broad’s bouncer with the wicketkeeper only able to glove it to the boundary as the restrictions featured 26 runs.
However, Farhat paid for his concern over Broad’s lbw shout, failing to return to his ground in time and being run out by the bowler.
Azhar Ali split the off-side boundary fielders with a punched four off Samit Patel to usher the hosts into three figures. However, Patel trapped Younus Khan in front and ended Azhar's prosperity with a quicker deliver that beat his attempted cut on 31.
Umar, who made 21, rallied with a couple of ugly fours and England lost their review when Finn’s lbw shout against Misbah was shown to be similar to the one against Pietersen. Replays were again required in the over to prove Umar’s drive off Finn had carried to Patel at cover-point.
Broad nearly took an outstanding catch at long-off off Afridi, who consecutively struck Patel for six and four but was bowled by Anderson for a run-a-ball 18 - going for another expansive shot in a wicket-maiden.
Finn castled Rehman, whose stumps were also shattered the ball before from a free hit, and Misbah’s resistance ended when Kieswetter ran back to hold a brilliant diving catch off Broad.
Finn trapped Gul dead in front, despite a review, and cleaned up Cheema to complete victory with an over unused.