Pietersen Ends Century Drought, England Win ODI Series
England 226-1 (Pietersen 111no, Cook 80) beat
Pakistan 222 (Shahid Afridi 51) by nine wickets
Third One-Day International, Dubai
Kevin Pietersen scored his first One-Day International century since 2008 to guide England to a series-clinching nine-wicket victory over Pakistan in Dubai.
Pietersen ended a drought stretching back to 2008 with a fluent unbeaten 111 as England moved to an unassailable 3-0 lead in the four-match series with a commanding performance.
After dismissing Pakistan for 222, they reached their target in 37.2 overs, Alastair Cook weighing in with 80.
Batting first, Pakistan did well to recover from a top-order collapse, instigated by Steven Finn (3-24) and Stuard Broad (3-42) where they were reduced to 97 for five, to post a competitive score.
Shahid Afridi (51 in 55 balls) and Umar Akmal (50 in 92) played responsible innings to put their side back on track before Broad had Akmal caught by Samit Patel and James Anderson bowled Afridi.
Pakistan's top-order woes continued as Mohammad Hafeez (29), Imran Farhat (9), Azhar Ali (5), Asad Shafiq (18) and Misbah-ul-Haq (1) all fell cheaply.
A spritely unbeaten 27 in as many balls from Umar Gul helped Pakistan stretch their score past the 200-mark after Adnan Akmal (9) and Saeed Ajmal (4) fell to Finn and Anderson respectively - both men bowled.
Aizaz Cheema was run out by Finn and Craig Kieswetter from the last ball of the innings for five.
England then showed Pakistan how a top order should operate with Cook and Pietersen matching each other stroke for stroke during a 170-run partnership in 28.2 overs.
Cook hit nine fours and one six before he was denied a third consecutive ODI century when he was caught by Adnan Akmal off Ajmal.
Pietersen was in brilliant touch, hitting ten fours and two sixes and with the game well beyond Pakistan, England had the luxury of enabling Eoin Morgan to bat at three, and he boosted his confidence with an unbeaten 24 in 32 balls to guide England to one of their most convincing ODI victories away from home.
The series win is their first against India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka outside of England since 2007.
The final game in the series - also in Dubai - is on Tuesday 21st February.
© Cricket World 2012