Up until very recently, the only thing that would be remarkable about that scoreline in a Test match would be the absence of ‘an innings and’ but for England it is an unusually good result for an ODI. The selection wasn’t quite what I had predicted before the match. I had suggested that Dernbach would play instead of Bresnan on the back of the performances in the warmup match, but England played neither of them, instead opting for Jimmy Anderson. This surprised me (not at the time, as I was asleep, but when I got up) as I had thought Jimmy had rather fallen out of favour during the last World Cup. I’m actually quite happy just to see Jimmy rested during the limited overs matches and saved for Tests; the last thing we need is a bowler of his calibre picking up an injury due to an ODI on which he is unlikely to have much of an impact. Anderson is a better bowler overall than Dernbach, however, so the selection makes sense from that standpoint. Jimmy actually did not fare that well, however; he only got six overs and did not take a wicket. He also went at four an over, which is not bad for an ODI, but Pakistan’s overall rate was only 3.7.
Finn, of course, was the pick of the bowlers with his analysis of 10-1-34-4. Those four were not cheap wickets either, they were the top four batsmen in Pakistan’s order. He blew them away to leave Paksitan at one point 40-4 and it was always going to be a struggle from there. Credit should also go to Graeme Swann, for his 7-3-19-2. He actually was the sixth bowler used (Bopara got an over) but he was instrumental in keeping Pakistan tied down as England turned the screw. Once again the batting was not particularly good, but they did enough today. Cook led from the front, something at which he has got rather good at doing in ODIs. His 137 off 142 was enough to win him Man of the Match, with which it is hard to argue. Especially after England’s batting woes in the Tests it was a much needed innings. He scored seven more than the entire Pakistan team and more than the rest of his teammates combined, which says a lot about how important his innings was. He also scored at nearly a run a ball, which should help suppress suggestions that he and Trott should not play in the same team. Each have perfectly respectable strike rates.
It should be noted that as it stands this is little more than a ‘feel-good’ win for England. The batting was still heavily reliant on one player and Finn’s early burst effectively ended the match, allowing the rest to play with the pressure off. Pakistan did not bat particularly well (though they hardly excelled in the Tests either) and England can probably expect them to come back. For now at least, England have a slight upper hand, nothing more.