Pakistan v England: Pietersen hundred seals whitewash
|Fourth one-day international, Dubai:|
|England 241-6 (49.2 overs) beat Pakistan 237 (50 overs) by four wickets.|
Kevin Pietersen's second successive century steered England to a 4-0 clean sweep over Pakistan in their one-day international series.
Pakistan failed to build on a strong start, in which Asad Shafiq scored 65, as they lost their last six wickets for 35 to be dismissed for 237.
Jade Dernbach starred with 4-45 and debutant Danny Briggs took 2-39.
England were struggling on 68-4 before Pietersen (130) and Craig Kieswetter (43) turned the game.
Pietersen had struck 111 in the previous match to record his first one-day international hundred since 2008 but this innings, his highest in ODIs, was of an even higher calibre.
Other than one rash moment when he was close to being out lbw attempting an audacious reverse sweep, he was prepared to be defensive when necessary - especially against Saeed Ajmal who tormented England as Pakistan won the Test series 3-0 - before taking the game away from Pakistan in the final overs.
Encouragingly, the innings came in a pressure situation as England had to recover from a poor start that left them four down after 16 overs with Kieswetter playing a sensible support innings to turn the game back in his side's favour.
And victory also suggested England have some strength in depth as Briggs and Jos Buttler came in for their one-day debuts with seam bowlers Dernbach and Tim Bresnan also getting games while James Anderson and Stuart Broad were rested.
And even with Graeme Swann out with a calf injury, the bowling changes did not hamper England, who made light of losing the toss as Pakistan started and finished their innings badly. Other than a century stand from Azhar Ali and Shafiq - and a dogged, late cameo from Misbah-ul-Haq - their batting failed to fire again.
Dernbach had been looking to recover from a poor tour of India and took wickets regularly despite sometimes offering too much width and not showing his usual fondness for variety while Briggs was rewarded for his tight lines and full length bowling, keeping unflustered after early blows from impressive Azhar.
Dernbach struck with his second delivery, forcing a tentative edge behind from Mohammad Hafeez to leave Pakistan on 1-1 after only eight balls.
A fluent fightback followed from Azhar Ali and Shafiq, who eased to a 111-run partnership in their 21.3 overs together.
But they stuttered in the middle overs, losing three quick wickets before Shoaib Malik and Misbah-ul-Haq responsibly constructed a 58-run stand in 62 balls.
But their late-order batting was disappointing again as they slid from 202-4 after 43.2 overs to 237 all out. Misbah remained until the final over, scoring 46 from 52, to carry his team to a competitive score.
The total appeared to be below par but Pakistan's spirits would have been raised when Junaid Khan - the only paceman in their line-up - ended Alastair Cook's brilliant run of form that had seen him hit two centuries and 80 in the previous matches by trapping him lbw on the second ball of England's reply.
The spinners subsequently made life uncomfortable on a wearing, used surface. Jonathan Trott (15 from 32) departed, trying to pull Abdur Rehman and top-edging, before Saeed Ajmal struck twice in three balls.
Eoin Morgan (15 from 16) was lbw, missing an attempted sweep, and Buttler could only manage a second-ball duck due to an inside-edge that looped up - via his thigh pad - to short leg.
England were uncomfortably placed at that stage until Pietersen and Kieswetter's rescue act. The pair built a calm 109-run stand before the wicketkeeper was run out.
But that partnership had taken the team into a strong position, needing 61 runs from the final 10 overs, a task they managed relatively smoothly as Pietersen found able support in Samit Patel.