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Woakes, Taylor hand England an unassailable lead against Pakistan

Woakes, Taylor hands England an unassailable lead against Pakistan
James Taylor scored an unbeaten 67 for England in the third OD against Pakistan in Sharjah.
©REUTERS / Action Images

England 210-4 (Taylor 67no) beat
Pakistan 208 (Hafeez 45) by six wickets
Third One-Day International in Sharjah

James Taylor notched an unbeaten half-century after Chris Woakes' four-wicket haul wrecked the Pakistan batting line-up as England won the third One-Day International in Sharjah by six wickets and took an unassailable lead of 2-1 in the series.

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first on a decent batting track. England went unchanged while Pakistan replaced the injured Yasir Shah with the debutant Zafar Gohar.

Azhar Ali (36) and Babar Azam (22) gave Pakistan a steady start of 43 in the first 10 overs.

Chris Woakes (4-40) provided the initial breakthrough for England getting rid of Azam, as he mistimed a shorter delivery to Adil Rashid (0-51) at deep fine leg.

Mohammad Hafeez (45) got struck into Rashid hitting him for a couple of sixes and a boundary in successive overs to take Pakistan to 88 for one in 18 overs.

Azhar on the other end looked to play the anchor role as he and Hafeez added 47 for the second wicket complimenting each other well.

Just when Pakistan looked good for a big score, a misunderstanding between the duo led to the run-out of Azhar. This was his fourth run-out in the last eight ODIs.

Sarfraz Ahmed (26) was promoted to number four and he got going immediately with a couple of boundaries.

But Pakistan lost four wickets in a span of seven overs as the game took a turn on its head.

First Hafeez holed out to deep square leg off David Willey (1-45) and then Sarfraz found the substitute fielder Chris Jordan at deep mid wicket in the next over.

Mohammad Rizwan (1) too perished in a mix up after Shoaib Malik (16) failed to respond to a quick single while Ifthikhar Ahmed (3) became the second victim of Woakes.

From 92 for one, Pakistan slipped to 145 for six. It wasn't far before Pakistan lost two more wickets of Anwar Ali (7) and Malik as they were reeling at 161 for eight with a danger of getting dismissed before 200.

The last two wickets added 48 for Pakistan as Wahab Riaz (33 not out) came up with a vital knock with support from Gohar (15). Pakistan were bundled out for 208 runs.

Woakes ended up with a four-wicket haul while Willey, Moeen Ali (1-30) and Reece Topely (1-41) shared a wicket apiece.

With the required run-rate of just over four, England started their chase aggressively as Jason Roy (7) and Alex Hales (30) hit a boundary each in the first two overs.

But Roy failed to carry on as he chipped a Mohammad Irfan (1-29) delivery to backward point.

Gohar (2-54) was introduced early in the sixth over and the move paid dividends straight away as he had Joe Root (11) caught at deep mid wicket.

Irfan was warned twice in the seventh over for running on the pitch which sent ripples across the Pakistan camp.

Eoin Morgan (35) joined Hales as the pair added a crucial 60-run stand for the third wicket to take England out of danger.

Hales survived a DRS review from Pakistan for caught behind down the leg side in the 18th over.The ball had clipped the thigh pad.

But a couple of overs later he became Gohar's second victim caught beautifully by Rizwan at slip. Malik (1-56) had Morgan castled in the next over as England were in trouble at 93 for four.

Taylor (67 not out) shifted gears as he plundered Gohar for two boundaries in the 23rd over. Meanwhile, Jos Buttler (49 not out) had a reprieve as Sarfraz missed a stumping off Malik.

Taylor brought his first six hitting Malik down the ground and he backed it with back to back boundaries off Irfan in the 34th over to take England to 164 for four.

He brought his fifty in 51 deliveries with another maximum down the ground and England looked comfortable needing just 29 to win in 14 overs.

Buttler joined the act as he smashed Iftikhar (0-18) for a six to complete the formality for England overhauling the Pakistan target in 41 overs. The win has given them an unassailable lead of 2-1 in the series.

Taylor was awarded the man of the match for his unbeaten half-century. The fourth and final ODI will be played on 20th November in Dubai.

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