Sri Lankan who turbo-charged cricket in 1996 World Cup wants swansong in 2011 as he urges calm over Pakistan fix claims.
|England captain Andrew Strauss smiles as he is awarded man-of-the-series after victory in the final ODI [AFP]|
England completed a clean sweep of their 2010 home series when they defeated Pakistan by 121 runs in the fifth and final one-day international.
Pakistan, set 257 to win the match and the series, tumbled from 63 without loss to 135 all out after batting under the lights in the day-night match on a warm evening at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
Off-spinner Graeme Swann, a crucial figure in England’s Ashes plans this year, gained prodigious turn to finish with three for 26 from nine overs. Each of his victims was bowled.
During a long and tiring season to be followed soon by the Ashes defence in Australia, England defeated Bangladesh and Pakistan in successive Test series.
They won a one-day series against Australia and two Twenty20 matches against Pakistan followed by a 3-2 win in the five-match 50-overs series which was overshadowed by a corruption scandal which erupted in the final Test at Lord’s.
“It was a huge game at the end of a tough summer. We have been in a very unpleasant place. Motivation wasn’t a problem, we were absolutely determined to win this game”
Andrew Strauss, England captain
Test captain Salman Butt and his two leading pace bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif have been suspended from all cricket after an investigation into a British newspaper report which alleged they had arranged for deliberate no-balls to be delivered during England’s only innings.
Pakistan, under one-day captain Shahid Afridi, bounced back from a two-game deficit in the 50 overs series with wins at the Oval and Lord’s.
They bowled with great spirit and skill again on Wednesday but were thwarted by a match-winning 107 not out off 101 balls from Eion Morgan, who displayed all the steely application and ability to improvise which have made him such an outstanding one-day batsman.
Morgan came to the crease with England becalmed on 59 for three with Paul Collingwood was also back in the pavilion, nursing a migraine after retiring ill on five.
Shoaib Akhtar, still able to generate pace regularly in excess of 145 kms an hour at the age of 35 despite an increasingly arthritic runup, bowled Jonathan Trott for three.
After regularly beating England captain Andrew Strauss outside the off-stump he gained a deserved reward when the left-hander was caught behind for 25.
Collingwood, who finished with 47 runs from 71 balls without a boundary on his return, helped Morgan restore their team’s fortunes in a partnership of 93 for the fifth wicket.
Morgan struck a six and a four from consecutive balls to reach his century from 101, adding 54 from 29 balls with Tim Bresnan (18 not out), including 19 from the final over bowled by Saeed Ajmal.
Strauss, who scored 126 in the second match and 68 in the fourth, was named man-of-the-series.
“It was a huge game at the end of a tough summer,” he told a news conference. “We have been in a very unpleasant place. Motivation wasn’t a problem, we were absolutely determined to win this game.”
England’s 16-man squad for the Ashes defence will be announced on Thursday.