The Weekend Leader - Second-string England eye clean sweep against Pakistan

Second-string England eye clean sweep against Pakistan



Photo: IANS

World Cup winners England, who have revealed their bench-strength by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead with a second-string side, will look to seal the three-ODI series against Pakistan here on Tuesday.

The English team, comprising some fringe players and discards, that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) gathered after three players and four members of support staff of the original squad had tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the series, has surprised many with a clinical performance against Pakistan.

Having won the first ODI at Cardiff by nine wickets and the next match at Lord's by 52 runs, the host are itching to go for the kill in the third ODI.
Pakistan, shaken by a bowling attack led by pacer Saqib Mahmood, who has taken six wickets, will eye a consolation win ahead of the T20 International series.

In the first ODI, Pakistan were shot out for 141 with Mahmood ratting them with four wickets for 42. England romped to a nine-wicket victory with Dawid Malan (68 not out) and Zak Crawley (58 not out) pulling them through.

Things were not much different for Pakistan in the second ODI as they were bundled out for 195, chasing 247.

England will again look to their top-order batsmen Malan and Phil Salt to lead the effort while Mahmood will shoulder bowling responsibilities.

A clean sweep may not be the ideal balm for English fans who are mourning the loss in Euro 2020 football final to Italy, but it may lift their mood a bit. The cricket team though won't have much time to mourn the loss on football field.-IANS

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