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Lumb ton helps Lions square series

England Lions

Michael Lumb

Michael Lumb's superb century helped England Lions level the one-day series after a three-wicket win over Pakistan A

Michael Lumb scored a brilliant century as England Lions levelled the one-day series with a thrilling three-wicket win in Dubai.

Lumb battled cramp to crack a supremely-crafted 110 to help his side overhaul Pakistan A's challenging 231 for eight with an over remaining.

James Taylor played his part too, his 61 an innings of maturity beyond his tender years, and the 109-run stand he put on with Lumb ultimately swung the game back towards England, who earlier slipped to 56 for three.

There were a few flutters in the penultimate over when, needed two to win, Lumb, Steven Davies and Chris Woakes all perished. It was left to David Wainwright to carry England Lions home, via a leg bye, much to the delight of his joyous team-mates.

On the warmest day since arriving in the United Arab Emirates, Andrew Gale lost the toss and led his team out to field in the afternoon sun.

Steven Finn and Woakes, who have forged an impressive new ball partnership, remained disciplined in the draining temperatures to bring an early breakthrough.

The meagre Finn was the successful bowler in his second over, inducing Pakistan's best player, Mohammad Hafeez, to edge to Lumb at first slip.

Woakes might have joined his room-mate in picking up a wicket when the horizontal Lumb just failed to hold on to a tough chance at short extra-cover when Umair Khan drove aerially in the eighth over.

Khan and Asad Shafiq ticked along at a pedestrian rate with the latter finally showing an intention to score in the 14th over with a pull and drive off successive deliveries from Sajid Mahmood.

The accurate Peter Trego ended their 54-run stand, which took a 16 overs to compile, when Shafiq shuffled across a straight one and was adjudged lbw. The wicket was ample reward for the Somerset all-rounder, who conceded just 24 from a workmanlike nine-over spell.

With there being little in the pitch and the Pakistan A batsmen adopting a safety-first approach, the Lions had to be patient in search of a third wicket. It was a 13-over wait until the returning Finn bowled Aamer Sajjad to leave the scoreboard reading 116 for three.

England celebrated prematurely when Taylor threw down the stumps as Khan attempted his 49th run, but the opening batsman did not last much longer, stumped in the 38th over by Davies as he tried to heave David Wainwright towards Abu Dhabi.

Steve Finn

Steven Finn was the Lions' most potent bowler, taking two wickets as Pakistan amassed 231 for eight in the Dubai heat

Mahmood and Adil Rashid then combined in the 41st over to run out Hammad Azam, the batsman paying for backing up too far as the Lions reduced Pakistan A to 157 for five.

Lancashire pace bowler Mahmood then took the first of his two wickets four overs later when Naeem Anjum top-edged a hook - Davies took a regulation catch behind - but the dismissal was the catalyst for a late assault which yielded 45 runs.

Naved Yasin cracked a couple of boundaries but Wahab Riaz's flashing blade did the most damage with two sixes over wide long-on as runs started leaking at an alarming rate.

Mahmood speared in a yorker to end Yasin's stay while Taylor, who was immaculate in the field, scooped a low catch off Riaz in the final over to bring the Lions some late cheer.

Just as they did in their heavy defeat two days ago, England Lions lost an early wicket when Trego, promoted to open to give the chase a kick-start, was caught in the second over off Riaz.

Gale joined Lumb and the pair began rebuilding the innings in a positive manner, perhaps knowing scoring against the new ball would be easier than the spinners.

Gale gave a statement of intent in the sixth over when he advanced down the wicket to Riaz and punching him through point for four, a shot he followed next ball by powerfully cutting to the boundary.

Lumb took a lead from the captain by pulling Mohammad Talha to the rope next over as England rattled along at a run a ball. The Hampshire man then trumped anything seen all day two overs later with a sumptuous drive off the same bowler as England Lions continued their aggressive approach.

With the rate escalating Hafeez threw the ball to teenage spinner Raza Hasan and the whistling magician - the 17-year-old whistled constantly when stationed at fine-leg near the England Lions changing room - just as he did on Monday repaid his skipper's faith with a double strike in two balls.

Gale was the first to perish, given out leg before, then Ian Bell fell in the same fashion from the next delivery as England Lions slipped to 56 for three.

Taylor, a first ball victim in the opening one-dayer, survived the hat-trick ball and the diminutive Leicestershire batsman steadily grew in stature alongside the pugnacious Lumb.

Cleverly rotating the strike by scampering between the wickets, the patient Taylor cut loose in the 22nd over with a well-timed sweep off Abdur Rehman. He followed that up with powerful cut strokes to bring up the 50-stand as England chugged past the 100.

Sajid Mahmood

Sajid Mahmood also picked up a couple of wickets before watching his side level the series with one game to play

Lumb, calm and composed throughout despite battling bouts of cramp, reached a well constructed fifty with a clip into the on-side while Taylor was not far behind, raising his bat to an appreciative dressing room.

Their partnership reached 100 when Taylor clipped Azam over midwicket for four. It was the fifth boundary since coming together at the crease, all of them hit by Taylor.

With the run-rate nudging above a run a ball for the first time, England Lions suffered a setback in the 40th over when Taylor missed an attempted reverse-sweep and was adjudged leg before to Hassan.

Lumb relieved some of the pressure with a consecutive fours off Rehman, one down the ground and the other lofted over extra cover, to bring the equation to 42 from 40 balls.

The Hampshire man was not finished there, carting a huge six off Raza and bringing up his century next ball with a powerful sweep that raced for four.

That counter-attack brought the finishing line in sight which England Lions crossed despite three late wickets.


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