Southampton: Jason Roy overcame a dizzy spell to lead England to a 44-run win under the Duckworth/Lewis method in a rain-marred first one-day international against Pakistan in Southampton.
Surrey opener Roy's quickfire 65 fired England towards an initial victory target of 261 on Wednesday. But after a third and final rain interruption after 34.3 overs, the umpires called the game off with England 194 for three. England captain Eoin Morgan was 33 not out and Ben Stokes 15 not out.
Earlier, Pakistan were held to a modest 260 for six, captain Azhar Ali top-scoring with 82 after he won the toss; Sarfraz Ahmed made 55 and Babar Azam 40 before he was unluckily out lbw. Pakistan were going well at 173 for three after 35 overs but then lost Azhar before a rain stoppage put a further break on their run-scoring.
In the England reply, Roy and Joe Root (61) took the hosts to the brink of victory with a second-wicket stand of 89 in 14 overs.
Roy sparked England's chase with three fours in four balls off Umar Gul in the third over of the hosts' innings. His boundary-rush started with a superb vertical bat shot through the leg side. Two balls later, Roy worked Gul through long-on and the next delivery saw him force through the covers.
But there was a worrying moment when Roy, on 20, needed on-field treatment for what a team spokesman later confirmed was a dizzy spell. Meanwhile, opening partner Alex Hales, who managed just 145 runs during the preceding 2-2 drawn Test series, against Pakistan, again fell cheaply. Hales was out for seven when he guided Gul straight to Mohammad Hafeez at slip.
Mohammad Amir had had five catches dropped off his bowling during the Test series and the Pakistan paceman's bad luck continued on Wednesday. Roy, on 24, skied left-arm quick Amir high on the leg side. The ball appeared to be heading straight to Gul at square-leg. However, wicket-keeper Ahmed called for the catch, only to make insufficient ground and drop the chance despite getting both gloves to the ball.
Pakistan may have recently climbed to the top of the Test rankings, but this was the kind of fielding errors that helped leave them languishing in ninth place in the equivalent ODI standings.
Roy swept left-arm spinner Imad Wasim for the first six of the match before completing a 43-ball fifty also featuring five fours. But Roy's innings ended when a lofted drive off spinner Mohammad Nawaz was brilliantly caught just inside the boundary by Babar, running round from long-off. Root, England's star batsman in all three formats, was untroubled while hitting six fours off 72 balls. But when Morgan dropped the ball into the offside and set off, Root failed to beat Azhar's direct hit.
England would have had an even easier chase had they not twice dropped Azhar on nine, Hales missing a relatively routine chance at gully before wicket-keeper Jos Buttler failed to hold a more difficult left-handed catch down the leg side. Babar was given out LBW to leg-spinner Adil Rashid by Australian umpire Simon Fry, even though replays clearly showed an inside edge.
However, as opener Sharjeel Khan (16) had wasted Pakistan's lone review of the innings, Babar had to go. Azhar pressed on to a relatively sedate 84-ball fifty before upping his tempo. But he fell when top-edging a slog-sweep off Rashid (two for 51) to Moeen Ali at short third man.
The series continues with a day match at Lord's on Saturday.
Updated Date: Aug 25, 2016 09:34 AM