Hales century powers England to series-levelling victory
England 283-5 (Hales 109) beat
Pakistan 188 (Sarfraz Ahmed 64) by 95 runs
Second One-Day International, Abu Dhabi
Chasing 284 for victory, Pakistan were never in the game after initial blows dealt by David Willey and Chirs Woakes.
England won the toss and they opted to bat first with an unchanged team while Pakistan handed a debut to Iftikhar Ahmed and replaced Bilal Asif with Mohammad Rizwan.
Jason Roy (54) began England’s innings with a couple of boundaries in the first two overs as he and Hales (109) played positively to take England to 51 for no loss by the end of the powerplay.
Roy raced away to a fifty with a fantastic pull shot in the 16th over and in the next over, the England openers brought up the 100-run stand.
However, Wahab Riaz (3-43) delivered the breakthrough when Roy holed out to mid-on. Hales also brought up his half-century, taking just 57 deliveries to approach the landmark.
At the halfway mark in the innings, England were positioned at 135 for one.
Joe Root (63) and Hales rotated the strike well in their 114-run stand. Hales brought up the fifty-run stand with a six and followed it up with another in the same over off Yasir Shah (0-70).
Riaz dropped a chance off Root at short cover and it was not long before Hales brought up his maiden ODI hundred with a paddle sweep for a couple of runs.
In an attempt to up the ante, Hales ventured down the track against Iftikhar and was stumped by the wicket-keeper.
A couple of balls later, Root brought up his own fifty with a scoop over fine leg for four runs and with 10 overs to go in the innings, England had 227 runs for the loss of two wickets.
Eoin Morgan (29) and Root added 40 runs for the third wicket but just when it looked like the partnership would take off, Riaz castled Root leaving England at 256 for three.
Riaz also managed to rattle the stumps of Jos Buttler (11) in his final over as Morgan also departed in the 49th over, picking out the fielder at mid-wicket off Mohammad Irfan (1-46).
James Taylor (9 not out) finished the innings with a boundary, pushing England’s total to 283 for five in 50 overs.
With three wickets, Riaz was the best bowler in the innings. Irfan and Iftikhar had one wicket each.
Pakistan were rattled early in the chase when Willey (3-25) struck Babar Azam (4) on the pads plumb in front of the stumps in the third over then Mohammad Hafeez (0) nicked one to the keeper off Willey without scoring.
The England opening bowlers maintained a tight line and Pakistan were only able to score 19 for two in the powerplay.
Woakes (4-33) struck in his first over when Iftikhar (5) was caught at mid-on and Pakistan continued to slip further when Shoaib Malik (13) pulled a delivery straight down the throat of mid-wicket off Woakes.
Azhar Ali’s (22) stay at the crease was ended when he played onto his stumps, giving Woakes his 50th ODI wicket to leave Pakistan reeling at 50 for five.
Pakistan failed to improve their run rate and the pressure kept mounting. Rizwan (17) attempted to cut a delivery on the off side but was bowled by Adil Rashid (1-32) although Anwar Ali (23) and Sarfraz Ahmed (64) gave Pakistan a glimmer of hope with their 65-run stand for the seventh wicket.
Anwar smacked a six off Moeen Ali (1-50) but flicked a full toss straight to Woakes at mid-wicket. With 10 overs left, Pakistan required 132 runs to win with just three wickets in hand
Ahmed brought up his fifty in 63 deliveries yet his knock included just two boundaries. Willey and Woakes teamed up once again to dismiss Riaz (5) and Ahmed.
Reece Topley (1-33) came back for his final spell to have Irfan (0) castled handing a 95-run victory to England and thereby going on to level the series.
Hales was named as the man of the match for his blistering century. The third ODI will be played on 17th November in Sharjah.
© Cricket World 2015