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Davies puts England in control against Pakistan

Steve Davies top-scored with 87 as England set Pakistan 275 to win the rain-delayed first one-day international at the Riverside today.

cricket Updated: Sep 10, 2010 22:10 IST

Steve Davies top-scored with 87 as England set Pakistan 275 to win the rain-delayed first one-day international at the Riverside on Friday.

Davies was drafted into the England side in place of wicketkeeper-batsman Craig Kieswetter and he seized the opportunity to cement his place at the top of the order with 13 fours in a devastating 67-ball innings.

Umar Gul and debutant Mohammad Irfan bore the brunt of Davies's onslaught as England reached 274 for six from 41 overs after a two-hour delay caused by a wet outfield.

Jonathan Trott weighed in with 69 from 78 balls and captain Andrew Strauss hit 41, while only off-spinner Saeed Ajmal managed to put England under pressure as he took four for 58.

Any hopes the Pakistan team had of avoiding further controversy after a scandal-scarred tour were dashed on the morning of the match when it emerged that fast bowler Wahab Riaz will be interviewed by police next week in the course of their spot-fixing inquiries.

That revelation came on the day Pakistan trio Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were due to fly back home with their reputations damaged by the betting scam allegations.

The three players have been charged and suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) under the world governing body's anti-corruption code following newspaper claims that Asif and Aamer bowled no-balls deliberately on Butt's instructions in the fourth Test against England at Lord's last month.

England were in no mood to show any mercy and Davies and Strauss put on 78 in under 12 overs once play finally got underway at the start of the five-match series.

Strauss immediately hit Irfan out of the attack, with three fours in the 7ft left-armer's solitary over of his new-ball spell, as Pakistan's decision to bowl first back-fired.

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi dropped a sharp head-high chance at cover off Mohammad Hafeez to reprieve Davies on 21 before Ajmal finally provided the breakthrough when he bowled Strauss as he attempted an ambitious sweep.

Davies then nudged his eighth four down to fine-leg to bring up his 50 from only 37 balls.

By the time Davies was out, edging a cut behind off Ajmal, England were well on top.

Trott assumed his customary role of accumulation and strike rotation in a period of play that saw Irfan leave the field mid-over and fail to return because of cramp.

England smashed 34 runs in four overs during a ferocious display of power-play hitting that was only curbed when Paul Collingwood swept Ajmal straight to deep square-leg.

Eoin Morgan then edged Afridi behind to Kamran Akmal and Trott was eventually bowled off an under-edge sweeping at Ajmal.

But Trott and Ravi Bopara had kept England ticking over well enough as 85 runs came in the final 10 overs to set a challenging target.

First Published: Sep 10, 2010 22:08 IST