Lions fall at final hurdle
England Lions' hopes of a series double over Pakistan A went up in smoke when they lost the third and final one-dayer in Dubai by 70 runs.
Chasing 214 to win, England Lions, who won the Twenty20 series last week, never threatened Pakistan A's total and were dismissed with 59 balls remaining.
Much like the opening ODI which Pakistan A won comfortably, the Lions batsmen failed to deal with an array of spinners who ran through the card. Just one wicket fell to pace.
In a frenetic start to the chase which saw Peter Trego launching his first delivery high over midwicket for six, England Lions were a wicket down within two overs.
Trego, promoted in the hope of adding some early momentum, skied a drive to the retreating Mohammad Hafeez who took a fine catch scampering back towards the sightscreen.
Just as they did in the previous match, Andrew Gale and Michael Lumb met early, charged with steering a listing ship back on course.
They made decent headway but having taken the score to 43 for one in the ninth over, Gale charged down the wicket and was bowled by teenage prodigy Raza Hasan. It was the third time in as many innings the left-armer spinner has bewitched the England Lions captain.
Lumb looked in good order in making a patient 30 but he could not replicate Wednesday's heroics when he made a century and was brilliantly caught in the 21st over on the square leg boundary by Asad Shafiq.
James Taylor followed soon after, caught and bowled by Abdur Rehman with the scoreboard reading 89 for four.
England Lions suffered a hammer blow in the 30th over with the dismissal of Ian Bell, their best player. Aiming a sweep towards deep midwicket, the Warwickshire batsman could only watch in horror as Naved Yasin sprinted in and swooped to scoop up the ball inches above the turf.
Steven Davies launched a counter offensive but after moving serenely to 24 he was adjudged leg before attemping to paddle Hafeez.
It was soon 130 for seven as the wickets kept tumbling with Chris Woakes the victim of a leading edge that was caught and bowled by leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
David Wainwright did not last long, bowled by Hasan, Adil Rashid was smartly stumped off the same bowler and it was all over when Steve Finn was caught having a hopeful swipe.
Earlier in the day, when a vicious sandstorm made playing conditions even more uncomfortable than usual, England Lions made a perfect start when Finn found the edge of Hafeez's bat with the third ball of the day.
Woakes matched his room-mate with a wicket in his first over to reduce Pakistan A to four for two, Umair Khan playing which prompted more celebrations.
The Warwickshire seamer collected his second wicket when Aamer Sajjad nicked behind to give Davies his second catch and Pakistan A were soon 33 for four amid scenes of confusion in the 10th over.
Shafiq and Rehman got in a tangle over a single with the latter run out after Sajid Mahmood threw to Woakes at the non-striker's end, he underarmed to Bell to whip off the bails.
Shafiq and Yasin began the uneviable task of repairing the innings with a 77-run stand that dragged Pakistan A towards respectability.
With the partnership beginning to look threatening, England Lions spin duo of Wainwright and Rashid each struck to leave the batting side 118 for six after 31 overs.
Wainwright made the initial breakthrough, dismissing Shafiq for a well made 52 courtesy of a smart catch by Rashid who then beat Yasin's defensive stroke with a ball that turned and hit leg stump.
The returning Finn thought he had Hammad caught behind in the 43rd over - the batsman seemed to walk only for the umpire to remain unmoved - but the Middlesex man would not be denied and his unusually loud celebration on seeing the stumps flying was understandable.
Yasir and the pesky Naeem Anjum gave the Pakistan A innings some late momentum with some lusty hitting but Woakes, entrusted with the last over, ensured the situation did not get out of hand by yorking the pair of them.