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Flintoff inspires comfortable England win
by AFP


Ground:Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Scorecard:Pakistan v England
Player:A Flintoff
Event:England in Pakistan 2005/06

An Andrew Flintoff-inspired England eased to victory in the first one-day match here on Saturday after smashing their highest total in Pakistan.

All-rounder Flintoff clubbed an unbeaten half-century as England reached an impressive 327-4, and then took three wickets as the hosts fell 42 runs short with 285 in 46.5 overs.

Flintoff, who finished with 72 runs and 3-73, was supported by debutant paceman Liam Plunkett (3-51), Kevin Pietersen (56) and Andrew Strauss, who put his Test woes behind him with a sparkling 94.

"It was a very good batting wicket and once we put a good total on the board we were confident that it was defendable," said captain Marcus Trescothick.

Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq pledged to remain positive in the remaining four matches despite the loss.

"It was disappointing to see batsmen getting a good start but none could finish the match for us," Inzamam said.

"We will play positive and aggressive cricket to win the next four matches."

Pakistan had half-centuries from Salman Butt, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik but none could go on to help Pakistan chase their third highest one-day target.

Butt (67) and Younis (60) added a brisk 117 off just 106 balls for the second wicket to raise Pakistan's hopes but a late collapse saw Pakistan lose five wickets in the space of 23 runs off just 18 balls.

Flintoff, who conceded 41 off his first four overs, took a simple catch off Steve Harmison to dismiss Butt and then induced Younis to play straight into the hands of Paul Collingwood at point.

Butt hit eight fours and a six in his 65-ball knock, while Younis's 56-ball innings contained six boundaries and a six.

Collingwood then got England the prized scalp of in-form Inzamam, who was caught behind for 13 to leave a capacity 25,000 crowd stunned.

Yousuf and Malik added 83 runs for the fifth wicket but the required run-rate went up with every over.

Yousuf miscued a drive off Plunkett and was caught by the keeper after scoring a 63-ball 60 which included five boundaries. In his next over Plunkett dismissed Malik for 50, and Abdul Razzaq for 13.

Earlier, England owed their highest one-day score in Pakistan to Strauss's solid 94 and Flintoff's brisk 72.

Strauss, who managed just 44 runs in two Tests against Pakistan, hit six boundaries and was involved in three key partnerships.

He added 51 for the second wicket with opener Matthew Prior (45) after England lost Trescothick for 13.

Strauss then lifted England's total with a third-wicket stand of 91 off just 77 balls with Kevin Pietersen, who smacked 56 in just 39 balls.

Pietersen hoisted leg-spinner Kaneria for two consecutive sixes and hit seven boundaries before he was stumped by Kamran Akmal off Shoaib Malik.

Flintoff took over and helped Strauss add 52 for the fourth wicket as both men dominated the bowlers.

Strauss fell within six runs of his third one-day century when he pulled a short delivery off Kaneria straight to Salman Butt at deep mid-wicket.

Flintoff, dropped by Younis Khan off Malik when 31, took full advantage of the lapse, hitting Naved for three boundaries and a six in the 48th over as England added 87 in the last 10 overs.

Flintoff hit five boundaries and three sixes in his 65-ball knock to help England beat their previous highest one-day total against Pakistan of 306-5 in Karachi five years ago.

The second game in the five-match series will be played here on Monday.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP) spacer

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