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Daily World News,
LONDON: England batsman Joe Root played a well-crafted knock to lead England to victory in the second of the five-match One Day International series at Lord's, London on Saturday.
The middle-order batsman faced 105 balls to score 89 runs and power England's pursuit of 252 runs, smashing five boundaries.
England skipper Eoin Morgan also scored 68 off 80 balls while all-rounder Ben Stokes contributed 42 runs to help the hosts gain a 2-0 series advantage over Pakistan.
Root, who bats at the one-down slot, brought up his fifty in the 21st over which brightened the hosts' chances of winning after stuttering earlier on.
Slow-left-arm bowler Imad Wasim was the pick of Pakistan bowlers, bagging two wickets and conceding 38 runs in the seven overs he bowled.
Pakistan left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir struck on the second ball of the England innings to clean-bowl Jason Roy, who was the host's highest run-scorer in the first ODI at Southampton.
The Three Lions received another blow at the end of the eighth over as they lost Alex Hales.
The 27-year-old, boasting ODI average of over 70 in the ongoing calendar year, was castled by Imad in an attempt to slog the ball towards the on-side.
Pakistan managed 251 before getting all-out on the penultimate ball against England during the second of the five One-Day Internationals at Lord’s cricket ground due to terrific lower middle-order contributions by Sarfraz Ahmed and Imad.
Sarfraz, who went on to become only Pakistani keeper to score a century in England, was joined by Imad to post a fighting total when the tourists struggled at five down for 125.
The Karachi-born keeper walked into the middle when Pakistan were in tatters as their top-three had fallen for just two runs.
Making his comeback into the ODI side after 16 months, Sami Aslam was the first batsman to throw away his wicket as he attempted a pull-shot on Chris Woakes’ short-pitched delivery, going down the leg-side.
Given not-out initially, Aslam (1 off 10) walked back to the pavilion, after English captain Eoin Morgan reviewed umpire Marais Erasmus’ decision that unveiled ball tickling the left-hander’s glove on its way to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler’s hands.
Sharjeel Khan (0 off 2) followed his opening partner back to the pavilion just four balls later, as Mark Wood’s scorching off-cutter sent the 27-year-old’s off-stump cart wheeling, reducing Pakistan to two for two in 2.2-overs.
Tourists’ skipper Azhar Ali, whose 82 at Southampton in the first ODI was succeeded by a duck, fell five balls later to Woakes’ remarkable good-length delivery that moved just enough to clip the 31-year-old’s bat on its way to the English wicketkeeper.
With Pakistan struggling at two for three in just 19 ball, Sarfraz and Babar Azam withered the storm with a mature 64-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Azam, who contributed 30 to the crucial partnership, fell to Liam Plunkett’s yorker. The right-handed batsman hit five fours in 33 balls before he played on.
Sarfraz, who rotated the strike throughout his 130-ball knock, had scored 49 at 81 when Azam fell. However, Sarfraz continued to anchor Pakistan’s fightback, as he put up two more fifty-plus stands with Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim, the latter contributing the most.
The sixth wicket stand of 77 runs from 99 balls between Sarfraz and Wasim, which ended with former’s wicket, turned out to be the best of the innings.
Sarfraz, whose 105 had just 22 per cent runs from boundaries, fell in the 43rd over when Pakistan were 202 after scoring his career’s second ODI century.
However, Wasim took the reign, upping his scoring rate towards the end. His handy 63 not out of 70 balls included five fours and a six over third-man boundary off Plunkett.
Yasir Shah made his limited-overs comeback as Pakistan captain won the toss and elected to bat first.
Pakistan made three changes in the playing XI, whereas England remain unchanged.
Shah, 30, has replaced young left-arm orthodox Mohammad Nawaz. Mohammad Hafeez, struggling with a knee injury, was replaced by left-handed opening batsman Aslam, who impressed the selectors with well-fought half-centuries in the recently concluded Test series.
Fast bowler Umar Gul has also been replaced by Hasan Ali.
In the first one-dayer on Wednesday, England beat Pakistan by 44 runs on Duckworth/Lewis method to take 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Meanwhile, Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has warned senior members of the team to perform or get ready to be replaced by youngsters.
“I told the players that nobody is safe and if you are over 30 I am afraid you have to come to the table more often than not otherwise it gives us an opportunity to blood some younger players,” Arthur said.
“Nobody is safe in this one-day side and they need to step up,” said the head coach in an obvious reference to the struggling duo of Hafeez and Malik.
Pakistan aim to bounce back in the series.
Pitch and Weather: The pitch is dry and has a tinge of grass, which will not shape the course of the match according to experts. The forecast is clear for the day.
England: Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (capt), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood
Pakistan: Sami Aslam, Sharjeel Khan, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir