Strauss underpins England triumph
Andrew Strauss’ fifth one-day international century set up a thrilling run-chase at Headingley Carnegie which put England 2-0 up in the NatWest Series.
Strauss used all his experience to keep England on course to challenge Pakistan’s imposing 294 for eight.
The home captain shared a 146-run alliance with Jonathan Trott, who contributed a steady 53.
When Strauss departed for 126 from 134 balls, featuring 10 fours and a six, England still required 47 from 5.4 overs.
The hosts lost three further wickets but clinched a four-wicket win with three balls to spare.
Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez had earlier laid a strong platform for Pakistan, which the tourists’ middle order built on.
Kamran scored at better than a run a ball in an opening stand worth 122 in 22.2 overs. His 74 occupied 72 deliveries and featured 12 boundaries.
Asad Shafiq, promoted from seven to four, made 50 after Mohammad Hafeez and Mohammad Yousuf registered forties.
England were at times sloppy in the field, in contrast to Friday’s 24-run win at the Emirates Durham ICG.
Both sides were unchanged from that game and Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was encouraged sufficiently by sunny skies over Leeds to bat first.
Kamran soon forced Tim Bresnan out of the attack with five fours in seven balls off the seamer.
His replacement, Stuart Broad, fared little better but James Anderson offered few scoring opportunities from the Kirkstall Lane End; his opening spell of six overs cost only 18.
Hafeez began to follow Kamran’s lead and each boundary was cheered by a significant contingent of Pakistan support, spread around a sell-out crowd.
England immediately enforced the bowling power play and, with spin introduced from both ends, Kamran’s half-century arrived at a run a ball.
Pakistan continued to score fluently before Paul Collingwood broke through in his first over, trapping Kamran in front as the right-hander attempted to sweep.
Graeme Swann made it a double strike 15 runs later when Hafeez was bowled off his pads, playing back, for 43 from 68 balls.
Yousuf and Shafiq rotated the strike effectively and yielded fifty together in 56 balls. It included the first six of the day when Yousuf lifted Michael Yardy over long-on.
But the veteran departed for 46 from 48 balls when he edged behind an attempted steer to third man off Broad.
Shafiq did not let the momentum slip, though, flaying Swann for a maximum similar to Yousuf’s, before his fifty arrived from 57 deliveries.
Shafiq fell to a smart Ravi Bopara catch at point, beating Strauss to the ball following the right-hander’s attempted upper cut off Broad.
Umar Akmal took the next three balls for four but was out next delivery for 28 in similar fashion to Yousuf.
Having left the batting power play until the 45th over, Afridi launched Broad down the ground for six.
But Anderson, whose 10 overs cost 36, dismissed him in the next over when Strauss held on running back from mid-on.
Bresnan cleaned up Umar Gul in the last over of the power play and Saeed Ajmal perished when he lofted Broad to point in the final over.
Broad finished with mixed figures of 4-81 from 10 overs and Fawad Alam was unbeaten on 20.
England replied strongly but Shoaib Akhtar, bowling impressively, had Steven Davies caught behind for a swashbuckling 26 from 21 balls.
Shoaib was unfortunate not to add Strauss, who was dropped at leg slip on 23 by the towering Mohammad Irfan.
Strauss survived again on 38 when he appeared to glove a Gul delivery to Kamran - the wicketkeeper taking a superb one-handed catch diving to his right.
Trott concentrated on rotating the strike as the half-century alliance with Strauss came from 64 deliveries.
Strauss pushed the score along more rapidly, striking Afridi for six over midwicket to go past 50.
An embarrassing misfield from Irfan at short third man then allowed the second-wicket partnership into three figures from 119 balls.
Strauss upped the ante with three consecutive fours off Irfan before Trott’s fifty arrived from 67 balls.
A direct hit from Shoaib at short third man sent Trott on his way as the striker decided against a single. Strauss did complete a single to reach his century soon after.
Collingwood holed out to long-on off Afridi on 19, but Eoin Morgan was dropped behind off Hafeez’s part-time spin on one.
Having taken the batting power play, Strauss was lbw attempting to sweep Ajmal and Morgan was held at deep cover off Gul for 16.
Bopara and Yardy kept England in it but, with 13 required from the last two overs, the former holed out off Ajmal on 16 – Hafeez taking a running catch from long-off.
Bresnan drove Ajmal for four from his first ball to leave six required from the final over and top-edged Gul for four to tie the scores before he scrambled a single next ball.