Five-star Woakes rounds off emphatic series win
Joe Root and Eoin Morgan made good runs and Adil Rashid and Jos Buttler starred in the field as England beat Pakistan by 54 runs at Headingley.
England’s smooth World Cup preparations continued as Chris Woakes’ five-wicket haul helped condemn Pakistan to a 54-run defeat at Headingley.
In their final one-day international before the tournament opener against South Africa on May 30, Eoin Morgan’s side outclassed their opponents in all three disciplines to take the series 4-0.
There was a new ground record of 351 for nine, remarkable run-outs from Adil Rashid and Jos Buttler and a starring role for Woakes, whose five for 54 represented his best figures since 2014.
Joe Root (83) and Morgan (76) both topped up their accounts in timely fashion and, despite equally impressive knocks from Babar Azam and Sarfaraz Ahmed (97), the game was probably beyond Pakistan as soon as Woakes reduced them to six for three.
David Willey would have dearly loved to make a splash, handed one last chance to nudge in front of Joe Denly when the 15-man squad is named on Tuesday, but one for 55 may not be enough.
The reply ended on 297, England finishing things 19 balls ahead of time.
Morgan had opted to bat first, a decision he admitted went against his natural instincts and acted instead as a planning exercise for the tournament to come.
It quickly looked like a sound one, though, with Pakistan turning in a torrid new-ball display. England romped to 95 for one in a frantic powerplay, James Vince setting the tone by planting Hasan Ali’s first two balls of the match for four and Jonny Bairstow enthusiastically following suit.
Vince made a pleasing 33 but once again failed to hang around, top-edging Shaheen Afridi’s short ball.
Root began with a flurry of boundaries, six of them in his first 14 deliveries as the bowling erred wildly in line and length, and overtook Bairstow before the latter chipped softly to long-off for 32.
That brought Morgan to the middle and he soon shunted Root into the junior role, launching Fakhar Zaman for the first six of the innings in the 21st over, heaving another eight rows back, clearing the ropes on the leg side and adding two more maximums.
He and Root put on 117 in 109 balls and when Morgan’s destructive stay finally ended – another Afridi steepler, another top edge – a daunting base of 222 for three had been laid.
Pakistan successfully dragged things back, a seemingly inevitable century escaping Root when he carelessly picked out fine leg before Imad Wasim removed Buttler and Moeen Ali within three balls.
Tom Curran lifted things at the close, making a rapid 29 not out including a brilliantly ramped six, and the pendulum swung even harder towards England when Woakes kicked off the second innings with three wickets before conceding his first run.
Fakhar was first down, fending to second slip as Woakes hammered a tight line, before the next two batsmen were pinned lbw. Abid Ali failed with a DRS referral on his way, but Mohammed Hafeez accepted his fate when the ball was shown to be creeping over.
An early finish appeared to be looming but Babar and Sarfaraz were unwilling to buckle. Together they put on 146 in just 23 overs, the highest stand of the day but one which could not prevent the required rate spiking.
When England hit back it was inspired fielding, rather than magic bowling, which did the job. Rashid was the unexpected spark, running out Babar from the bowler’s end after gathering Buttler’s errant throw and flicking down the stumps while looking the wrong way.
Shoaib Malik was the next victim of Rashid’s much-improved handiwork, the spinner hurling himself sideways to grab a one-handed caught-and-bowled.
If Pakistan felt it was not their day, Buttler confirmed it when he sent Sarfaraz back three short of his century.
The wicketkeeper flung his leg out to intercept a low edge, gathered the ricochet and caught the batsman a few centimetres short of grounding his bat.
Woakes returned to bag two more and Willey picked up Asif Ali but cut a weary figure by the end of a second spell that may be the end of the road for now.