England made the highest ever score in a one-day international as they clinched the five-match series against Pakistan with two games to spare at Trent Bridge yesterday (August 30th), while Alex Hales set a new individual record for England.
The final total of 444-3 was a run more than the previous record, made by Sri Lanka against the Netherlands in 2006, and was confirmed when Jos Buttler hit the final ball of the innings for four. The innings produced 59 boundaries - the most in a one-day international innings - with 321 runs coming from the last 30 overs.
The record total was just one of many records that tumbled in an extraordinary match featuring perfect batting conditions and some wayward bowling and fielding as Pakistan wilted under England's onslaught.
In blasting 171, Hales made the most of a chance to play on his home ground after struggling badly in the first two games of the series. Before the match some suggested he could lose his place. Instead, he returned to the player seen so often in white ball cricket, playing with freedom and hammering fours and sixes around the ground. The English individual record of 167 by Robin Smith had lasted since 1993, but after being caught off a no-ball by Wahab Riaz on 72 and dropped on 112, he made the most of his chance. His innings occupied just 122 balls.
Joe Root gave fine support with a classy 85, but the real fireworks came when Jos Buttler came to the crease. The first seven balls he faced realised just one run, before the next 15 went for 52 as he repeatedly launched the spinners into the stands. His half century from 22 balls was another England record. He then went briefly into his shell again and was bowled by another no-ball from Wahab before renewing his display of power and improvisation to reach 90 not out. Wahab narrowly escaped setting another unwanted record, as his 0-110 from ten overs was only the second worst analysis in a one-day international.
With Eoin Morgan reaching his own 50 from 24 balls, England had put on the kind of display that is sure to make cricket lovers across the Midlands think ahead to the ICC Champions Trophy matches at Edgbaston next June, for which corporate hospitality packages are available.
Pakistan had the most daunting of tasks, but gamely attacked from the off. Sharjeel Khan raced to 50 from just 26 balls, extraordinarily only the fourth-fastest half century of the match, but when he fell for 58 the innings began to drift. The target got larger and larger as wickets fell and England imposed a stranglehold. Chris Woakes was among the wickets yet again, finishing with 4-41.
At 199-9, England were a wicket away from recording their biggest one-day international win, but Mohammad Amir produced an astonishing assault, making the fastest 50 by a number 11 in one-day internationals, matching Buttler's feat in reaching the landmark from only 22 balls.
Amir was finally out for 58 to ensure an England victory by 169 runs. The result clinches both the one-day series and the 'super series' that combined points from all three formats of the game.
By Sam Coates