England dug in with the ball to pull off a 15-run victory despite mustering only 111 against Pakistan in their final World Twenty20 warm-up match at P Sara Oval, Colombo on Wednesday.
Once again, after their well-chronicled struggles in a 0-3 Test series defeat in the United Arab Emirates last winter, England’s batsmen had no answer to the wiles of Saeed Ajmal (four for 14).
But Danny Briggs (three for 15) and Jade Dernbach (three for 14) ensured England kept chipping out wickets — even without the rested Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan — and eventually restricted Pakistan to 96 for nine.
Awkward bounce, spin and swing were available, and after beating Australia by nine runs on Monday, England sneaked home again to head into the defence of their world title with a perfect two-from-two warm-up record.
Luke Wright top-scored with just 38 as they struggled after choosing to bat first on a tricky surface.
The No. 3 managed to operate at just over a run-a-ball, a feat which proved beyond the rest of the top five.
England 111 in 19.3 overs (Luke Wright 38, Saeed Ajmal 4/14). Pakistan 96/9 (Danny Briggs 3/15, Jade Dernbach 3/14). England won by 15 runs.