Brydon Carse comes away with a five-wicket haul in his third ODI
Innings Pakistan 331 for 9 (Azam 158, Rizwan 74, Imam-ul-Haq 56, Carse 5-61) vs England
A pressure-releasing century from Babar Azam guided Pakistan into a commanding position in their third – and final – ODI against England at Edgbaston.In a vastly improved batting performance, the visitors posted 331 for 9 on the back of Azam’s ODI career-best 158. He shared a third-wicket partnership worth 179 with Mohammad Rizwan, whose 74 off 58 balls was pivotal in pushing Pakistan’s total into territory, which had previously evaded them on this tour.Imam-ul-Haq’s 56 – he put on a second-wicket stand of 92 with Azam – was also of huge value as England’s inexperienced line-up faced mounting a record successful run-chase at Edgbaston, albeit on a good batting pitch, in their bid to sweep the series 3-0.Brydon Carse, playing his third ODI after being called into England’s new-look side after a spate of positive Covid-19 tests in the original squad, claimed five wickets, including that of Azam late in the innings.Pakistan made an understandably watchful start, given collapses to 4 for 26 to be 141 all out in Cardiff and 4 for 53 at Lord’s where they were bowled out for 195.
They lost Fakhar Zaman for just 6 in the fifth over, his attempted punch through the off side off Saqib Mahmood stymied by the awkward bounce and finding Zak Crawley, who took an excellent catch at slip. The team fifty took 13.4 overs and after 17 they were 59 for 1.
Coming with scores of 0 and 19 from the first two matches, Azam took 15 balls to get off the mark amid consecutive maidens from Mahmood. He crept to 15 off 38 but his patience was rewarded and he started to find the boundary with more regularity.
Similarly, Imam entered the match in need of runs after a duck and just 1 from his first two outings in the series. After 11 overs, 24 of Imam’s 26 runs had come courtesy of the boundary rope and he passed 2000 ODI runs during the course of his innings.
Azam unfurled an exquisite extra cover drive off Carse to bring up their fifty partnership, moving to 23 off 43 himself in the process. He brought up his 18th ODI fifty with a single off Matt Parkinson, steered in the direction of mid-on and helped himself to sixes, picking Lewis Gregory’s offcutter early and punishing it over the fence at cow corner and smashing Parkinson over mid-off.
It was Parkinson who broke the union between Azam and Imam with a ripper of a delivery that turned sharply from well outside off and clattered into middle stump.
With Pakistan 113 for 2, Rizwan arrived in typically attacking mood and he reached his half-century in 42 balls with a four off Craig Overton.
Azam, meanwhile, reached his 14th ODI century with a crisp cut to the boundary off Mahmood. He was dropped on 126 when he struck a Parkinson full toss with gusto to midwicket, where Carse was unable to hold what would have been a wonderful catch. Azam went on to score 13 off the over, including a sweep beyond short fine leg and a thunderous six over long-on.
Overton conceded 12 off the next over as Azam survived a lofted shot over the bowler’s head that landed safe between in-coming mid-off and mid-on fielder and Azam struck his fourth six of the innings, off Carse over long-on, in the next over.
Carse ended Rizwan’s knock, edging an attempted pull to wicketkeeper John Simpson. Carse then removed Sohaib Maqsood and Hasnan Ali cheaply and Mahmood took two wickets in as many balls when he bowled Faheem Ashraf for 10 off four and had Shadab Khan caught behind.
When Azam finally fell top-edging Carse to Dawid Malan at cover with four balls left in the innings, he shook his head in disappointment but there was nothing disappointing in his performance. Carse had Shaheen Shah Afridi caught by James Vince two balls later to claim his fifth wicket.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo