Cook's ton lifts England to 260-7
Skipper Alastair Cook hit a career-best hundred to lift England to 260-7 in the first day-night international against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi Stadium here on Monday.
The 27-year-old left-hander made 137 for his third one-day hundred and added an invaluable 131 for the third wicket with Ravi Bopara (50) to help England recover from two successive wickets after they won the toss and batted.
Cook, whose previous best of 119 came against Sri Lanka at Lord's last year, hit 14 boundaries during a fluent 142-ball innings and shaped well against Pakistan's spin-dominated attack which routed England 3-0 in the preceding three-Tests series.
Given out leg-before off Mohammad Hafeez when 30, Cook successfully reviewed Australian umpire Siomn Taufel's decision and carried the batting until the 47th over when he was finally bowled by Saeed Ajmal who finished with a career-best 5-43.
England's ploy to open with Kevin Pietersen, who managed just 67 runs in the Tests, worked well as Cook and his new partner put 57 by the 13th over as Pakistan opened the bowling with paceman Umar Gul and Hafeez.
Pietersen though managed 14 before he became one of two Shahid Afridi victim, bowled through the gate off a googly by the leg-spinner. Next ball Afridi dismissed Jonathan Trott with a sharp turner.
Bopara, not played in the Tets, ably assisted his skipper as both took past England over the 100-run mark, sweeping and driving well against spinners. Cook reached his fifty off 57 balls with a swept boundary off Ajmal.
Bopara notched his seventh fifty in one-day off 67 delivery but two balls later jumped out to drive Ajmal and was stumped. He hit four boundaries.
Cook hit Afridi two fours to enter 90s and then cover drove Ajmal to the boundary to reach three-figure mark off 110 deliveries.
Ajmal's previous best of 4-33 was against New Zealand on this same ground in 2009.