England look slightly better poised among the two sides © AFP
England look slightly better poised among the two sides © AFP

England gave Pakistan a slightly unexpected thrashing in the second One-Day International (ODI) at Abu Dhabi. That match brought the series level at 1-1 since Pakistan had come out on top in the first game at the same venue. The teams will take the battle to Sharjah for the third ODI of the four-match series. The team that wins the next ODI will secure a draw in the series at the bare minimum and will also have the chance to take a series win. These circumstances add greater context to the third game. Scorecard: Pakistan vs England 2015, 2nd ODI at Abu Dhabi

England were clinical in the previous ODI. Their area of biggest improvement was their top-order batting which failed miserably in the first game. Openers Jason Roy and Alex Hales curbed natural aggression to some degree and posted a partnership of over hundred runs. Roy got out in his fifties but Hales batted on for a hundred. Joe Root also proved his mettle scoring a solid 63.

England were not quite able to cash in on a solid foundation and managed to post just 283 for five in their fifty overs but the pitch was not exactly conducive to explosive batting. Wahab Riaz was the stand out bowler for Pakistan yet again taking three wickets and conceding just 43 runs in his 10 overs. Yasir Shah took a beating on the day and looked a pale shadow of his Test-match self.

Pakistan’s chase never really gained any momentum and the English bowlers stamped their authority over them. David Willey was phenomenal in his opening spell taking the wickets of Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez cheaply. He came back to dismiss Wahab Riaz later. Chris Woakes who was enduring a prolonged dry spell with the ball found his rhythm and took four wickets! ALSO READ: Yasir Shah in doubt for Pakistan vs England 3rd ODI at Sharjah

With the exception of Sarfraz Ahmed not one batsman in the Pakistan camp succeeded in their attempt to outplay England’s bowlers on a tricky pitch. The other batsmen fell without semblance of a fight reinstating Pakistan’s inconsistencies in that department. They will need to do far better than that if they are to win the crucial third game against the visitors.

Going on basis of results in the first two games, it is difficult to pick a favourite for the third match. But it is safe to say that England has figured a way to succeed on these pitches against a solid batting line up. Pakistan will have to get their act together in order to make the third match an exciting contest.

Squads:

Pakistan: Azhar Ali (c), Aamer Yamin, Ahmed Shehzad, Anwar Ali, Babar Azam, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan, Rahat Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Ifthikar Ahmed, Zafar Gohar.

England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, James Taylor, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes.

Time: 15:00 Local | 11:00 GMT | 16:30 IST

(Rishad D’Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)