England battle to 12-run win over Pakistan at Ageas Bowl
England opened a big summer of international cricket at the Ageas Bowl with a hard-fought 12-run win against Pakistan in the second One-Day International.
It was the perfect curtain-raiser for the upcoming World Cup, when the south coast venue will host five games.
Put into bat, the host country took the Pakistan bowling apart to post a mammoth 373 for three off their 50 overs.
Openers Jason Roy (87) and Jonny Bairstow (50) showed just how difficult it is for Hampshire's James Vince to break into the top order of the side.
Bairstow eventually fell to a terrific catch on the boundary and when Roy fell in the 31st over England were in a strong position on 182 for two.
Joe Root (40) and Eoin Morgan (71 not out) maintained the momentum, before Josh Buttler lit up the proceedings with a sparkling innings.
Buttler plundered a century off 50 balls – his second 50 coming in just 18 balls as England added 162 runs in the final 15 overs.
Facing a record run chase, Pakistan were given the best possible start by Imam-ul-Haq (35) and Fakhar Zaman, who put on 92 runs for the first wicket.
After ul-Haq was caught and bowled by Moeen Ali, Zaman (138) and Babar Azam (51) put the visitors in with a chance.
The crucial breakthrough, though, came when Zaman was given out caught behind on review off Chris Woakes.
Although Azam fell in the next over, Pakistan, led by Asif Ali (51), refused to give up and set up a tense finale needing 32 runs off the final three overs.
Sarfaraz Ahmed (41) made England sweat before they finished just short on 361 for seven.