Having been thoroughly examined by Pakistan during the Test series, England breezed to victory in the first ODI without so much as an inquisition from the visitors.
On a traditionally true Rose Bowl pitch Azhar Ali’s side – who play one-day cricket like England used to, with slow accumulation leading to a frenzy in the final 10 overs – never looked close to par.
Despite the rain bringing an early finish to proceedings, England were always ahead of the run rate in pursuit of the visitors’ 260 for 6. Eventually, they claimed the spoils via the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Without as many aggressors and rope-clearers as England with the willow, Pakistan’s method doesn’t offer much for Eoin Morgan’s outfit to worry about.
On the south coast, Pakistan scored only four boundaries in their final 10 overs, didn’t hit a single six and managed just four runs from the last six balls.
Against the bounce of Liam Plunkett and skiddy pace of Mark Wood, waiting until the death to launch an attack is a flawed strategy. And to think, that pair aren’t even England’s premier closers.
Both Chris Jordan and David Willey will expect game time at some point during this series. As seasoned latter-stage negotiators, they will make things even harder for Pakistan to get away.
Two wins in the last 11 ODIs at the ground make for wince-inducing reading for the hosts, but against this Pakistan outfit, not even history can stand in the way of victory.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.