England square series

Birmingham, September 10 :

Sajid Mahmood starred with both ball and bat as England beat Pakistan by three wickets in the fifth and final one-day international here on Sunday to end the series all square at 2-2. Set a meagre 155 for victory, England finished on 155-7 having collapsed to 118-7 when Mahmood came to the crease.

Mahmood was 22 not out off 25 balls with four fours, having previously taken 2-24 off 10 overs. Michael Yardy was 12 not out. England’s bowlers had put them on course for what was just their sixth win in 26 limited overs matches by restricting Pakistan to 154-9 off 50 overs after England captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and chose to field.

Fast bowler Mahmood was well supporteed by medium-pacer Paul Coll-ingwood who finished with 2-23. Younis Khan’s 47 was the only individual score above 18 in an inning where extras provided the second-top score of 24 earlier in the Pakistan innings.

For an injury-hit England team missing the likes of fast bowler Stephen Harmison, all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and senior spinner Ashley Giles, this was a morale-boosting victory ahead of next month’s Champions Trophy one-day tournament in India and the 2007 World Cup.