Vol. 5 Num 558 Wed. December 21, 2005  

English pride at stake
Final ODI against Pakistan today

England will play for pride and points in the international rankings in the fifth and final one-day match against Pakistan here on Wednesday after losing the series.

"It is not an ideal situation to go into the last match with the series already decided, but a lot of ranking points are up for grabs and a lot of pride in how we play," said acting captain Marcus Trescothick, after his team's narrow 13-run defeat late Monday.

Pakistan took an unassailable 3-1 lead, surviving a late-order England rally through Kabir Ali (39 not out) and Ian Blackwell (29) who added 50 for the ninth wicket after the home team managed a modest 210.

Ali then partnered last man James Anderson in a 33-run stand before paceman Shoaib Akhtar had Anderson caught in the slips by Younis Khan with 11 balls left in the fourth match.

England currently lie seventh in the ten-team International Cricket Council (ICC) one-day rankings. They are in danger of being relegated to the qualifying rounds of next year's ICC Champions Trophy.

Sides outside the top six in the ICC rankings next April 1 will have to play a qualifying round and England only have two more matches against India after the Pakistan series to avoid relegation.

The other four will have to take part in a qualifying round, with only two progressing to the tournament.

Fittingly, Pakistan can move above South Africa into second place behind Australia if they beat England by a margin of 4-1.

England have crashed to defeat in both the Test and one-day series against Pakistan just four months after their Ashes triumph against Australia.

"You don't become a bad team overnight and there are definite issues to address," said Trescothick. "We have not adapted to situations as well as we have done before.

"Whether that's a comedown from the Ashes I don't know, but you have to work even harder going into the next series, as people are waiting for you."

Trescothick said his side had been in a good position to win after dismissing Pakistan for 210 on Monday.

"Yeah, I think we were in a very good position to win, chasing 211. It did spin more than expected, but we didn't get partnerships going, lost wickets at the top of the order and it didn't go the way we wanted it to go," he said.

Pakistan captain Inzamamul Haq was delighted to clinch the series.

"It is a fantastic win in a crucial match. Now we can try out one or two young players in the final match but the intensity to win the match will remain the same," he said.

PAKISTAN (from): Kamran Akmal, Salman Butt, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamamul Haq (captain), Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Navedul Hasan, Shoaib Akhtar, Danish Kaneria, Mohammad Sami, Arshad Khan.

ENGLAND (from): Markus Trescothick (captain), Matt Prior, Andrew Strauss, Vikram Solanki, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Geraint Jones, Ian Blackwell, Liam Plunkett, James Anderson, Steve Harmison, Ian Bell.