Pietersen stars as England beat Pakistan 4-0 in one-day series
Second successive century for KP secures whitewash and revenge for Test series humiliation
AFTER the humiliation of a Test series whitewash at the hands of Pakistan, England's cricketers have responded in a most unexpected way - beating their hosts 4-0 in the one-day series in the UAE.
A second successive century from England's most enigmatic batsman, Kevin Pietersen, completed the rout as he registered his highest ODI score of 130 as the side recovered from 68 for four to overhaul Pakistan's total of 237.
Earlier Pakistan were bowled out for the fourth time in the series. In the final two games they lost their last wicket with the final ball of the innings. Jade Dernbach, playing for the first time in the rubber, was the pick of the bowlers with four for 45.
England's failure to master the 50-over game has long been a source of embarrassment to the team, particularly as they are, officially at least, the world champions in the Test and Twenty20 formats.
In their last series England were humbled 5-0 by India, and few expected them to perform during the day/night games in the UAE. Worryingly England's batsmen had appeared powerless against Pakistan's spin attack during the Test series.
However, the batters, or at least some of them, found their feet while England's excellent bowling attack carried on taking wickets.
On the batting front Pietersen, who had managed a pathetic 67 runs in six innings during the Tests, plundered 281 at an average 93.6 in the one-dayers, while Alastair Cook, a controversial choice for captain because of his supposedly sluggish batting, smashed 323 runs at a strike rate of almost 90.
Ravi Bopara, who did not play in the Tests, scored a fifty in both his innings during the series.
The Times reported that a one-day whitewash "seemed unimaginable" after the Tests but paid tribute to Pietersen in his new role as opening bat. "The days of being cowed and confused by spin are behind him. Opening the batting has concentrated his mind and freed his blade."
And while few will remember another inconsequential one-day series it could prove significant for the development of the England team. "Despite their debacle in India, England have now identified a squad of players that they believe can serve them over the next few years and develop and improve in the process," reports Cricinfo. ·