England v Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq stars in tense warm-up victory
|World Cup warm-up, Sydney (SCG):|
|England 250-8 (50 overs): Root 85, Ballance 57, Shah 3-45|
|Pakistan 252-6 (48.5 overs): Misbah 91 not out, Akmal 65|
|Pakistan won by four wickets|
England lost their last World Cup warm-up game by four wickets as Pakistan prevailed in a tense finish in Sydney.
Alex Hales (31) and Gary Ballance (57) came into the England side but both got out playing loose shots when well set.
Joe Root then hit 85 from 89 balls but fell in the penultimate over as England finished on 250-8 from their 50 overs.
Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (91 not out) and Umar Akmal (65) kept them in contention, and Shahid Afridi saw them home with seven balls to spare.
England must now decide on their XI to face Australia in Melbourne when the tournament begins on Saturday - with the biggest decisions resting over who joins pacemen James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the bowling attack.
Rarely tested in Monday's comfortable win over a lacklustre West Indies side, England rang the changes at the Sydney Cricket Ground to give their remaining squad members a run-out.
Hales and Ballance, who did not feature in the recent tri-series against Australia and India, were given a final chance to press their credentials as Ian Bell and James Taylor sat out, while Anderson and Broad - rested against the Windies - returned in place of Chris Woakes and Steven Finn.
|Morgan under the microscope|
|Since making 121 against Australia on 16 January, England captain Eoin Morgan scored 0, 2 and 0 in his last three innings in the tri-series, and another duck against Pakistan - with two "did not bats" in the same period|
Opener Moeen Ali failed to build on his 46 against West Indies, getting a leading edge to cover for four.
Though Hales and Ballance added 64, both players fell tamely to leg-spin as Hales gave Sohaib Maqsood a simple catch at mid-wicket off Afridi, while Ballance picked out the same fielder on the leg-side fence when trying to attack Yasir Shah (3-45).
Captain Eoin Morgan swiftly followed, edging to slip when trying to lap-sweep his third ball.
Root eventually found a durable partner in Chris Jordan (31 not out) as England reached the 250 mark off the last ball of their innings.
After Broad and Anderson removed Pakistan's openers, Jordan and James Tredwell - battling for those bowling places - took a wicket apiece, inducing false shots from Younus Khan and Haris Sohail as Ballance threw himself around in the deep to take the catch on both occasions.
It left Pakistan's hopes resting with the vastly experienced Misbah, who added 133 with Akmal to keep his side in contention, and by the time Akmal edged Broad to keeper Buttler, Pakistan still needed 40 from 33 balls.
When Maqsood (20) fell with eight needed from 14, the stage was set for the big-hitting Afridi, roared on by a noisy Pakistan fan contingent inside the SCG.
The veteran all-rounder did not disappoint, blasting Broad for successive fours in the penultimate over.