Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Davies Feels His Time's Come

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Davies Feels His Time's Come

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

IT may have gone the same way as all but one of this summer's matches between England and Pakistan, but for long periods of the run-chase you would not have bet on the outcome.

The home side won by 24 runs showing many of the qualities they will need at next year's World Cup, while Pakistan displayed the fight their credibility so desperately needed.

Andrew Strauss' words might have been slightly corny but they rang true.

"Cricket was the winner today," he said.

"It was a competitive game and an excellent wicket to bat on. The crowd looked like they enjoyed themselves."

Chasing 275 from 41 overs, Pakistan always trailed in the over-by-over comparisons but were near enough to keep it interesting.

On the day three Pakistan players flew home under suspicion of spot-fixing and a fourth under scrutiny, Wahab Riaz, was dropped, England might never have been so relieved to come close to losing.

In Jonathan Trott, they had a player to bat around and in Steven Davies someone convinced his time has come.

Pakistan's middle order traded in wellpaced 30s, 40s and 50s, relying on captain Shahid Afridi to rocket them over the line with the explosive finish Ravi Bopara provided England. After 15 runs off the first five balls of the 33rd over, those not doing the conga around Chester-le-Street's North East Terrace might have been fidgeting in their seats. With 84 needed from the last 9.1 overs and Afridi batting the game was still on, only for a run-rate-induced collapse to restore what has become normality.

One of the few things you can rely on Pakistan for is Umar Akmal's irresponsibility. Stepping outside leg stump, he ballooned the sixth ball of the over ball behind him en route to Davies' gloves.

Put in to bat, England paced their innings perfectly. The start was rapid thanks to their Test opener rather than his pinch-hitting partner, the middle overs steady save for Paul Collingwood's powerplay hitting. Then some lateinnings pyrotechnics from Bopara - preferred to Luke Wright - took them to 274-6 in cloudy conditions.

The bowling was good but there are rough edges to be smoothed in the 11 games before the World Cup. …

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