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Page last updated at 20:24 GMT, Friday, 17 September 2010 21:24 UK

Umar Gul inspires Pakistan to 23-run win over England

Third one-day international, The Oval:
Pakistan 241 (49.4 overs) bt England 218 (45.4 overs) by 23 runs

Match scorecard

Umar Gul
After struggling in his first over, Gul returned to devastating effect

By Jon Barbuti

Pace bowler Umar Gul took 4-6 in 18 balls to inspire Pakistan to a 23-run win in the third one-day international against England at The Oval.

England, chasing a modest 242 under lights, were 201-5 in the 40th over and seemingly on course to seal an unassailable 3-0 series lead.

But Gul, who ended with 6-42, dismissed Eoin Morgan for 61 and then took three more wickets as England collapsed.

The win was Pakistan's first since the spot-fixing allegations came to light.

And it was the perfect tonic to a summer of cricket that had threatened to peter out, with Pakistan having gone into the match on a run of five straight defeats since claims surfaced that no-balls had been deliberately bowled in the fourth Test at Lord's.

Amidst that background, the sides, somewhat unwittingly on England's part, served up a classic. The game ebbed and flowed, with Pakistan recovering from a terrible start to post a competitive total - one that would have been higher but for a bizarre run-out of captain Shahid Afridi.

They then had England under pressure at 103-5, lost initiative in the middle overs, but grasped victory in a thrilling denouement.

606: DEBATE
Foxes of Nuneaton

Having won the toss on a traditionally batsman-friendly square, Pakistan would have had hopes of posting a commanding total, but inside three overs Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez, who put on 62 and 122 in the opening matches, suffered their first failures of the series.

James Anderson produced a textbook delivery to dismiss Hafeez, but Akmal was unlucky, his face a picture of confusion on turning round to see the ball had deflected off his thigh pad and on to the stumps.

When Mohammad Yousuf went leg before to the excellent Anderson for 16, Pakistan were in danger of recording their fifth score of below 100 against England this summer.

Fawad Alam, in partnership with Asad Shafiq, averted that embarrassment with a steady, if unspectacular, partnership.

A couple of drives off Luke Wright apart, Shafiq was generally becalmed before an out-of-character wander down the wicket to Graeme Swann saw him caught in the deep by Morgan for 40.

Boundaries, though, remained at a premium. The dangerous Umar Akmal went for 14, while Alam only managed two fours in reaching his half century.

The one man capable of something out the ordinary was Afridi and he certainly managed that, but not in the manner expected. He had for once played himself in before smiting Swann for the innings' first six, but he then departed in bizarre circumstances.

Shahid Afridi
Afridi will not want to see too many replays of his dismissal

Inexplicably, rather than ground his bat he left it hovering above the crease, from where it only served to deflect an innocuous return from the fielder on to the stumps.

Bowler Stuart Broad's appeal was polite, apologetic even, but the evidence condemning. For a man who has previously bemoaned his own side's shortcomings it was an appalling error.

Coming shortly after Alam had departed to Michael Yardy, Afridi's wicket ended any hope of a total approaching 300 and although Abdul Razzaq hit a breezy 31, Gul used up 32 balls to make 14.

To keep the series alive, Pakistan needed early breakthroughs and with Razzaq replacing Mohammad Irfan the new ball attack had added threat.

Strauss and Davies delivered an early flurry of boundaries, but Razzaq produced a slower ball that bowled Davies through the gate before Shoaib Akhtar rolled back the years with a dream of a yorker to bowl Jonathan Trott.

Denied the services of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif as the investigation into spot-fixing allegations continues - a case file being passed to prosecutors earlier on Friday - the previously out-of-form Gul came on as first change and conceded 10 in his first over.

Saeed Ajmal accounted for Ravi Bopara, his departure leaving England 77-3, though with Strauss and Morgan at the crease England remained favourites to record an eighth victory in nine matches against Pakistan.

Strauss, on the back of a match-winning 126 in the second match of the series, appeared set for another century as he effortlessly passed 50 off 48 balls, while Gul looked likely to endure another frustrating afternoon having taken a combined 1-126 from 15.3 overs in the previous two matches.

One ball was enough to reverse both their fortunes as Strauss attempted a trademark cut off a wide delivery only to get an inside edge on to the stumps.

Suddenly Gul had his line and length back, a mix far too good for Yardy who played and missed at numerous deliveries and saw an edge dropped by Akmal before playing down the wrong line to be plumb lbw for four.

England, seemingly a man light in their batting line-up because of Paul Collingwood's absence, were under pressure but Afridi made his second misjudgement of the match, bringing himself into the attack and conceding runs at more than seven an over.

As an opener in Twenty20 cricket, Wright has appeared manic at times, but with Morgan's presence at the other end he played the support role perfectly, rotating the strike and hitting the occasional boundary off any loose ball.

But while Wright was functional Morgan was brilliant, showing his full array of strokes, including the reverse hit, to calmly bring the total into view.

However, there was time for another moment of controversy as Pakistan saw a clear stumping denied.

Umar Akmal, deputising for his brother who was injured in dropping Yardy, whipped the bails off with Wright overstretching, but umpire Billy Doctrove chose not to refer the decision, despite replays clearly showing the Sussex man failed to ground his foot in time.

That missed chance appeared likely to be Pakistan's last hurrah, but the return of Gul swung the game.

First he had Morgan caught in the deep on the leg side before a stunning reverse-swinging yorker accounted for Tim Bresnan.

When, in his next over, he picked up his fifth wicket with another stunning yorker, Pakistan had victory in their sights.

By now moving the ball at will, Gul picked up Swann for an eight-ball duck with his final ball, bringing Anderson to the crease at least safe in the knowledge he would be spared becoming a seventh victim.

But Razzaq is no mean death bowler himself and, with Anderson backing away, he sent down a full and straight delivery to spark the celebrations.



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