England beat Pakistan by three wickets and won the one-day series. Pakistan failed to capitalise on Babar Azam’s century as they were held to a total of 340 for seven by World Cup hosts England in the fourth one-day international at Trent Bridge on Friday.
With tournament favourites England naming their final 15-man World Cup squad on Tuesday, Surrey paceman Tom Curran did his selection prospects no harm with four wickets for 75 runs in a maximum 10 overs.
England, seeking a win that would seal the five-match series at 3-0 up with one to play, were looking at a stiff chase when Pakistan were 178 for one off 30 overs.
But the innings fell away following a century stand between Babar, who made 115, and Mohammad Hafeez (59).
It seemed the tourists were short of a truly competitive total because England have twice broken the record for the highest ODI total in three years at Trent Bridge. Last year’s 481 for six against world champions Australia followed their 444 for three against Pakistan in 2016.
Pakistan’s cause was not helped, when Imam-ul-Haq, fresh from his career-best 151 during England’s six-wicket win in Tuesday’s third ODI in Bristol, had to retire hurt on three after missing an intended pull of an 89 mph ball from fast bowler Mark Wood that hit him on the elbow.
But concerns over whether the 23-year-old left-handed opener, the nephew of Pakistan great and selection chief Inzamam-ul-Haq, would be fit for the World Cup were eased when he returned to resume his innings at the fall of the seventh wicket and he finished on six not out.
Following Imam’s initial exit, Babar and Fakhar Zamam set about an England attack featuring two genuine fast bowlers in the recalled duo of Wood and Jofra Archer.
Babar uppercut Archer for an audacious six. Left-hander Fakhar hoisted Wood high over the boundary at deep square leg.
Babar’s fifty came off 49 balls, Fakhar’s off 44.
But Fakhar fell for 57 when, trying to drive Curran through the covers, he sliced the ball to Wood at third man.
Babar continued to attack, timing a drive off Adil Rashid superbly through the covers for four before Hafeez hoicked a six off the leg-spinner.
Hafeez was reprieved again on 45 when wicket-keeper Jos Buttler — who had sent Pakistan into bat in his role as captain after regular skipper Eoin Morgan’s one-game ban following the team’s slow over-rate in Bristol — missed a chance to stump him off spinner Moeen Ali.
Hafeez went to fifty at better than a run-a-ball before, on 59, he pulled Wood to mid-on.
Babar’s 10th boundary, a leg-glance off Ben Stokes, took him to his ninth hundred in 63 ODIs, and first against England, in 104 balls.
He then sliced Surrey paceman Curran and Archer, running in from the cover boundary, held a well-judged catch to leave Pakistan 249 for three.
Wood showed his variety by deceiving Shoaib Malik (41) into hitting his wicket with a slower ball and finish with two for 71.
England, 2-0 up with two games to play in this five-match series, had made five changes from the side that beat Pakistan by six wickets in Bristol on Tuesday in another day/night clash.
The first ODI of the series on at the Oval May 8 was declared a no result due rain.
Vice-captain Buttler led the side as England one-day captain Eoin Morgan served a one-game ban imposed after the team’s slow over-rate in Bristol.
Buttler, England’s first choice white-ball wicket-keeper had been rested from Tuesday’s match following his blistering century at Southampton in the second ODI last weekend.
The talented Buttler was back behind the stumps on Friday after England rested Test gloveman and dynamic ODI opener Jonny Bairstow following the Yorkshireman’s 128 in Bristol.
World Cup favourites England had always made it clear they would rotate their side during the Pakistan series ahead of next week’s announcement of a final 15-man squad that they hope will see them win the showpiece ODI tournament for the first time.
Bairstow’s absence saw Hampshire top-order batsman James Vince given another chance to make a case for World Cup selection.
England also freshened up their attack, recalling fast bowler Mark Wood for his first international appearance of the season and pairing the Durham paceman with recently-qualified Sussex quick Jofra Archer, rested from the last two matches.
The duo replaced fellow quicks Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett, while leg-spinner Adil Rashid replaced left-arm quick David Willey.
Pakistan, who beat England in the semi-finals of the 2017 Champions Trophy en route to winning the last major global ODI tournament staged in Britain, made three changes.
Senior spin bowling all-rounders Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez returned while teenage fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain was also included in their side.
Trent Bridge has twice seen England post the highest innings totals in one-day international history during the past three years — with their mammoth 481 for six against world champions Australia last year following a score of 444 for three against Pakistan at the Nottingham ground in 2016.
England: Jason Roy, James Vince, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (capt/wkt), Moeen Ali, Joe Denly, Adil Rashid, Tom Curran, Mark Wood, Jofra Archer
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammed Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt/wkt), Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali,
Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain