Pakistan v England: Cook and Finn lead tourists to victory
|First one-day international, Abu Dhabi:|
|England 260-7 (50 overs) beat Pakistan 130 (35 overs) by 130 runs|
Alastair Cook and Steven Finn helped England recover from their Test series whitewash to beat Pakistan by 130 runs in the first one-day international in Abu Dhabi.
Cook laid the foundations for victory with a sublime 137 and Ravi Bopara scored 50 to help England to 260-7.
Pakistan's reply got off to a sorry start when Finn (4-34) ripped out their top four inside nine overs.
Samit Patel then took 3-26 as the hosts subsided to 130 all out.
It was a clinical performance by England, with Pakistan's only inspiration coming in the form of Saeed Ajmal (5-43).
Cook set the tone by playing an almost chanceless knock, surviving a referral in the fourth over to dominate against a Pakistan attack that included England's Test match tormentors Umar Gul and Ajmal.
The left-hander's third limited-overs ton came at almost a run a ball and was the highest one-day international score of his career as he mixed a solid defence with controlled aggression.
The hosts were unable to build pressure, mainly due to Cook's ability to find the gaps, and any loose balls were treated with the same disdain which has made the England captain one of the highest run scorers in Test match cricket in recent years.
Keen to muscle his way in on the headlines, Finn produced an incredible spell of bowling with the new ball to reduce to Pakistan to 40-4 in their reply and pave the way for the landslide win.
Cook and Kevin Pietersen gave England the perfect start, putting on 57 for the first wicket.
With the skipper looking in good touch from the off, Pietersen played a more restrained and anchored innings before Shahid Afridi dismissed him and Jonathan Trott with successive deliveries.
Bopara looked nervous early on and was lucky to survive a missed stumping and lbw appeal. Replays showed Afridi had his man with the latter, but the Pakistanis were left to rue using up their single DRS referral on Cook.
Any thoughts of a batting collapse, similar to the ones which blighted England in their Test series hammering, were slowly banished as Cook and Bopara shared a partnership of 131.
The Essex duo were composed at the crease and it looked as if England were on course for a score of around 300 before Bopara, after bringing up his fifty, charged down the track to Ajmal and was stumped by Umar Akmal.
Until that point, England's struggles against spin looked to be a distant memory.
However, befitting a player ranked as the best one-day bowler in the world, Ajmal wreaked havoc once he worked an opening.
Eoin Morgan and Craig Kieswetter perished to poor shots against the off-spinner before Cook, in an attempt to boost the run rate, and Stuart Broad were also removed.
Some late hitting from Patel and Graeme Swann pushed the England total up to 260, but they were left wondering whether they were 20 or 30 runs shy of a match-winning total.
Enter Finn. The Middlesex paceman, who missed out on the Test series defeat, combined pace, skill and intelligence to rip out the heart of the Pakistan top order.
Mohammed Hafeez and Asad Shafiq, taken in successive deliveries, and Imran Farhat and Younus Khan were all dismissed in quick succession to leave the hosts with a mountain to climb.
The challenge proved insurmountable once Patel was brought into the attack to build on Finn's good work.
The all-rounder, who applied pressure with a tight line, got rid of Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik to render any hopes of a Pakistan fightback redundant.
Akmal (22) and Shahid Afridi (28) briefly held up England, but they were helpless to prevent the tourists restoring some pride with a crushing victory.