England complete comfortable win
England closed out a second successive warm-up victory today as they continue to fine-tune their preparations for the Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
England needed 52.3 of the 62 overs they gave themselves against a Pakistan Cricket Board XI, set 251 to win, before they emerged successful by 100 runs at the ICC Global Cricket Academy ground in Dubai.
Jonathan Trott’s 93 and three wickets each for Graham Onions and Monty Panesar mean Andrew Strauss’ team can head into Tuesday’s first Test with great confidence.
After Trott and Strauss, with 62, had set up the final day by taking their opening stand to 130, England were able to make the third declaration of the match five minutes before the scheduled lunch break.
They then made three strikes with the new ball but had to work hard for more inroads with spin and seam thereafter.
Onions provided the first breakthrough when Afaq Raheem chopped a ball on to his stumps, on the back foot, and then Tremlett had Nasir Jamshed edging behind to Matt Prior for nought as he played away from his body in defence.
Mohammad Ayub Dogar was lbw pushing forward to Onions for a third-ball duck as the PCB XI slipped to 16 for three, but Fawad Alam and Usman Salahuddin were made of sterner stuff.
It was not until more than an hour later that Salahuddin succumbed for 32, with Graeme Swann taking the catch at slip off spin partner Panesar.
Then once Alam departed, holing out to Trott at midwicket for 51 off Kevin Pietersen’s occasional off-spin just before tea, England were properly on track for victory and it seemed merely a matter of how hard and long they would have to graft for their reward.
Haris Sohail was lbw pushing half-forward to Swann and, although there was a suspicion of bat before pad when Onions trapped Yasir Shah in front, there was no doubt about the stumping after Raza Hasan, on 22, went on an odd walkabout to Panesar.
The slow left-armer then duly completed proceedings when he removed Mohammad Talha lbw playing no shot.
Trott and Strauss were largely responsible for England’s 181 for three declared, having resumed on 36 and 39 respectively in an overnight 82 without loss.
Strauss was first to his half-century this morning, having hit five fours from 96 balls.
Trott followed with one more boundary, from two deliveries fewer. After two low scores in three previous attempts, his runs were especially valuable.
Promoted to open in place of an already in-form Alastair Cook, Trott dealt confidently with the new ball last night and continued on his unhurried way again today.
Strauss kept him company until he went back and was lbw to leg-spinner Yasir, who soon took his match haul to seven wickets when Pietersen departed, mis-sweeping and looping a catch up to Jamshed at slip.
When Trott then poked a low catch to cover off Yaisr, who returned 3-38, England decided they were more interested in trying to push for victory here than allowing Ian Bell, unbeaten on 12, or Eoin Morgan one last chance before the three-Test series to boost confidence with more time in the middle.