Taylor Guides England to 6-Wicket Win over Pakistan

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James Taylor struck an unbeaten half-century as England thrashed Pakistan by six wickets in the third one-day international in Sharjah to claim a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

Taylor (67 not out) put on 117 runs with Jos Buttler (49 not out) for the fifth wicket as the visitors recovered from 93-4 to chase down a modest 209-run target in 41 overs.

Earlier, the hosts were bundled out for 208 in the last over after opting to bat, with seamer Chris Woakes claiming four wickets in a second straight game. Three Pakistani batsmen were run out.

Babar Azam (22) and skipper Azhar Ali (36) delivered Pakistan a solid 45-run first wicket stand before former was dismissed by Woakes in the 11th over.

Azhar and Mohammad Hafeez (45) combined for a promising 47-run second-wicket stand which ended when the skipper was run out following a mix-up with the partner.

Hafeez continued to build the innings in the company of Sarfraz Ahmed (26) before holing out to Joe Root at deep square leg off seamer David Willey.

The dismissal sparked a slump which saw the hosts lose three wickets for six runs.

Sarfraz was caught by substitute man Chris Jordan at midwicket off spinner Moeen Ali. The run-out of Mohammad Rizwan in 33rd over left the hosts reeling at 138-5.

Woakes struck again two overs later to account for Iftikhar Ahmed (3) before Reece Topley removed Anwar Ali.

The-run-out of Shoaib Malik (16) diminished Pakistan’s hopes of reaching 200. However, Wahab Riaz played an enterprising knock of 33 not out off 35 balls to take the total past the mark.

Debutant Zafar Gohar, brought into the squad to replace injured spinner Yasir Shah, was caught behind the stumps by Jos Buttler off Woakes, who also bowled out Mohammad Irfan in the last over to finish with 4-40.

England suffered an early blow in the chase as Jason Roy was caught at mid-on by Malik off paceman Irfan before Joe Root (11) holed out to Iftikhar to deep square leg to gift Gohar his first international wicket.

Alex Hales (30) and skipper Eoin Morgan (35 not out) steadied the innings with a 60-run third wicket stand before both fell in quick-succession.

Hales was caught in the second slip by Rizwan off Gohar while Morgan was clean bowled after miscuing Malik’s delivery.

This time, Taylor and Buttler started rebuilding the innings and brought the visitors back into the contest with a majestic batting display.

Taylor brought up his fifty off 51 deliveries with a boundary off Malik.

Buttler launched a huge six off Iftikhar over the midwicket rope to seal England’s victory.

The fourth and final ODI will be played in Dubai on Friday. The one-day series will be followed by three T20 internationals.

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