England v Pakistan: Jonny Bairstow hits century as hosts thrash tourists

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Jonny Bairstow smashed a sensational century as England coasted a chase of 359 to beat Pakistan by six wickets in the third one-day international in Bristol.

Bairstow clubbed 128 from 93 balls, supported by 76 from Jason Roy, Joe Root’s 43 and an unbeaten 46 by Moeen Ali.

It meant England completed their second-highest run-chase in ODIs, and best at home, with more than five overs to spare.

After England won a thrilling second game in Southampton on Saturday, Pakistan again played their part in the run-filled entertainment, with both sides taking advantage of the true pitch, short boundaries and lightning outfield.

Asked to bat first, the tourists piled on 358-9, led by Imam-ul-Haq’s composed 151.

But Pakistan had no answer to the Bairstow assault – England taking a 2-0 lead without rested trio Jos Buttler, Adil Rashid and Jofra Archer.

The home side can seal victory in the five-match series – their final one-day internationals before the World Cup begins on 30 May – at Trent Bridge on Friday.

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Bairstow brutality

Bairstow enjoyed a stellar campaign in the Indian Premier League, piling on runs for Sunrisers Hyderabad in a prolific opening partnership with Australia’s David Warner.

He looked in good touch for 51 in Southampton, but all of England’s batsmen were put in the shade by Buttler’s 50-ball hundred.

Here, however, Bairstow took the gloves from Buttler, then picked up his mantle of destruction.

Bairstow’s opening stand of 159 with Roy, crashed in only 17.3 overs, utterly demoralised a Pakistan side that had no ideas with the ball and disintegrated in the field.

At one stage, with both men peppering the boundary and delighting the crowd, something truly special seemed in the offing.

The riotous mood was calmed when Roy miscued to point, but Bairstow went on to complete his seventh ODI century.

Of his 128 runs, 106 came on the leg side. Three of his five sixes cleared the stands.

A first England double-century seemed on the cards until Bairstow hacked at Junaid Khan and inside-edged on to his stumps.

There was little respite for Pakistan, though. Root, Moeen, Ben Stokes and Eoin Morgan all played scintillating strokes of their own as a massive target was made to look meagre.

Imam-ul-Haq anchors Pakistan

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Pakistan have a strong history of peaking in world tournaments – they won the Champions Trophy in this country in 2017 – but there was a concern that their batting may not be able to match their talented pace bowling.

However, after they fell just short of overhauling England’s 373 in Southampton, Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men again displayed the ability to get above 350.

Though they slipped to 27-2 thanks to the movement extracted by Chris Woakes, Pakistan were marshalled by Imam.

The left-hander nudged singles off his pads and dabbed to third man, then moved through the gears after registering a 97-ball century.

The impetus came from Asif Ali, who hit three sixes in 52 from 43 balls, as England missed the wicket-taking threat of leg-spinner Rashid.

With David Willey and Tom Curran expensive, Woakes and Liam Plunkett replicated their impressive showings from Saturday – Woakes finishing with 4-67 and Plunkett 1-55.

England also remained sharp in the field, a contrast to the sloppy drops of Pakistan later in the evening.

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The minor questions that remain for England

The omissions of Rashid and Buttler should have, in theory, given Joe Denly the chance to stake his World Cup claim with both ball and bat.

However, his leg-spin was afforded only one over, one littered with full tosses and costing nine runs, and he was not needed in the chase.

His place in the final 15 could come under pressure from Hampshire left-arm spinner Liam Dawson, or an extra pace bowler.

There may also be a slight concern over the bowling of Stokes, who struggled with the ball in the IPL and here cut a frustrated figure in conceding 34 runs from four overs.

Captain Morgan could also be in trouble for his team’s over-rate. England were punished after a game against West Indies in February, leaving Morgan under the threat of a ban.

‘It’s like watching Brazil’ – what you said on Twitter

Greg Double: “Watching this England team play cricket is how it must feel to be Brazilian before a football World Cup.

“I don’t just want us to win, I don’t just think we’ll win, I’m expecting us to win.”

Jon Dunn: “My word! That’s an impressive run chase. Could have reached 400 with ease. This England side really are the real deal!”

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