Pakistan lost a wicket against the run of play when Azam fell to Chris Woakes in the 11th over. He tried to hook a short-pitched delivery, but ended up miscuing it to Adil Rashid, who held on to the ball safely at fine-leg. Azam departed for 22, leaving Pakistan at 45 for one.
Azhar Ali and Babar Azam got off to a steady start and kept the England bowlers at bay as they provided a solid platform. Axhar played and missed a couple of times, but was untroubled otherwise. Azam was also playing well at the other end as the pair managed regular boundaries and also rotated the strike well to take Pakistan to 43 for no loss at the end of ten overs.
Mohammad Hafeez started in a positive manner and put on a good stand with Azhar. The pair looked assured and did not have any problems against the England bowlers despite the pitch holding up a bit and the outfield on the slower side.
Pakistan will be eyeing a decisive series lead as they take on England in the third One Day International (ODI) of the four-match series at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium on Tuesday (November 17).Pakistan are likely to miss the services of Yasir Shah, the highest wicket-taker in the preceding Test series, after the leggie picked up a knee injury during the practice session on the eve of the game.
The injury news comes as a setback to Pakistan's hopes given how Yasir's seven for 143 proved decisive in the third Test on the newly laid track at Sharjah earlier this month.
After outplaying England in the first ODI for a convincing six-wicket victory in Abu Dhabi, a batting fiasco two days later at the same venue meant the 'hosts' Pakistan threw away their 1-0 lead after folding for a meagre 188 in the chase of 284.Waqar Younis, Pakistan's head coach, has already sounded a word of caution to his team ahead of the crucial tie.
Pakistan win toss, opt to bat against England in the third ODI. The hosts will be without the injured Yasir Shah. Zafar Gohar makes his debut.
Pakistan (Playing XI): Azhar Ali(c), Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed(w), Anwar Ali, Wahab Riaz, Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Irfan
England (Playing XI): Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), James Taylor, Jos Buttler(w), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley
Once again a promising partnership comes to an end as Pakistan lose a wicket against the run of play. Hafeez played the ball to backward point and took off for a quick single. However, James Taylor put in the dive and fired in an accurate throw to Jos Buttler, who whipped off the bails with Azhar not even in the picture. With that dismissal, a partnership worth 47 runs came to an end.
Just like the last two partnerships, the one between Hafeez and Sarfraz Ahmed progressed smoothly with the latter scoring boundaries at regular intervals. And, like the previous two stands, this one two ended in an abrupt fashion as Hafeez fell to Willey in the 30th over, five short of a half-century. The batsman was early into a pull and ended up getting a top-edge which went high up in the air before Root held on to the ball safely at square-leg. Pakistan were 132 for three.
Another wicket went down and it was again the mistake of the batsman. Sarfraz looked to deposit a Moeen Ali delivery over the mid-wicket boundary in the 31st over, but only managed to hand a catch to Chris Jordan, the substitute fielder, who was close to the boundary ropes. Mohammad Rizwan followed soon, run out after taking off for a non-existent single, as Pakistan slipped to 138 for five in the 33rd over.
Woakes struck in the 36th over, dismissing Iftikhar Ahmed, to pick up his second wicket. The batsman top-edged a pull to Root at deep mid-wicket to depart for three, leaving Pakistan at 145 for six. England then lost a review when they referred a leg-before decision against Anwar Ali. However, Anwar fell soon after, getting out to Topley as Pakistan slipped to 156 for seven.
A direct hit from Chris Jordan resulted in the run out of Malik at the non-striker's end in the 42nd over. Pakistan slip to 161 for eight. This is the third run out of the innings and Pakistan have only themselves to blame.
Zafar Gohar and Wahab Riaz added 26 runs for the ninth wicket before the debutant fell to Woakes in the 47th over, edging a short delivery to the keeper. Riaz then hit a Topley delivery over the mid-wicket boundary for a maximum. Riaz sent the next ball to the same region and this time he was dropped by Root. In the following over, Riaz managed a six off Topley to help Pakistan to the 200-run mark. Wahab, who retained the strike for the final over, started with a six over long-off off Woakes. The bowler thought he had trapped Wahab in front, but a review came to the aid of the Pakistan batsman, twice in two deliveries. The fifth delivery of the over yielded Woakes his fourth wicket as Mohammad Irfan was bowled and Pakistan finished with a total of 208.
England suffered an early setback in the chase as Jason Roy fell cheaply. The batsman attempted a flick, but got a leading edge and saw Shoaib Malik take an easy catch at cover. Mohammad Irfan delivers the breakthrough.
Zafar Gohar was introduced in the sixth over and he did not disappoint as he removed Joe Root, the England danger-man, for 11. The batsman tried to hit a full toss over the square-leg boundary, but found Iftikhar Ahmed close to the ropes. Gohar could have had one more in the following over, but he failed to take a hard hit from Eoin Morgan off his own bowling to give the England skipper a reprieve. Irfan, meanwhile, was bowling a lively spell and had the England batsmen playing and missing, and hopping.
Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales built a steady partnership to help England recover from the quick wickets. The pair mixed caution with aggression as they put England back on track in the chase. In the 18th over, Malik thought the umpire had taken a wrong decision in judging Hales not out for a caught-behind decision down the leg side and opted for a review. However, the onfield umpire's call remained and Pakistan lost the review. In the next over, Morgan scored a boundary off Gohar to bring up the half-century stand.
Zafar delivered a crucial breakthrough by dismissing Hales for 30 in the 21st over. The batsman poked at a delivery that spun away and ended up outside-edging it to Rizwan at first slip. In the following over, Morgan was cleaned up by Malik, who picked up his 150th wicket with that dismissal as England slipped to 93 for four. The visitors would have been five down had Sarfraz not missed a stumping chance off Malik, giving Jos Buttler a reprieve.
James Taylor and Jos Buttler put on a good partnership to get England back on track. They brought up the half-century stand in the 29th over and scored at a good rate to bring down the target.
With consecutive boundaries off Riaz in the 34th over, Taylor entered the 40s while bringing the target below 50. Taylor brought up his fifty in style, scoring a six off Malik in the 36th over. A couple for Buttler off Malik in the 38th over took the partnership to the 100-run mark. Buttler finished things off in style, scoring a six off Iftikhar Ahmed to help England win by six wickets with nine overs to spare. Taylor remained unbeaten on 67 while Buttler was not out one short of a half-century and their partnership was worth 117 runs.