Fran Wilson marked her international comeback with an unbeaten 39 as England wrapped up a Natwest Twenty20 series win against Pakistan in the second at the Ageas Bowl.
Wilson, whose last appearance came in January 2011, glued a staccato innings on a slow track together with wickets regularly falling. Jenny Gunn and Danielle Hazell’s miserly bowling in defending made sure England won by 35 runs.
After England had won the toss and elected to bat, Lauren Winfield started off in confident style – hitting three of the first four balls to the boundary.
Opening partner Tammy Beaumont never quite looked settled at the crease – despite her recent form of 424 runs in four innings across the formats – and after getting away with a caught and bowled chance was lbw to debutant Aiman Anwer.
Captain Heather Knight came in and slapped the game’s first six down the ground to the close boundary fence. Winfield was dropped at cover by Bismah Maroof, but Anwer made up for her captain’s misfortune next ball with a boundary snatch over her head.
Pakistan appeared in a great deal of control, bowling tightly on slow track and patrolling the outfield well were rewarded as a frustrated Knight was tempted down the track – simply stumped by Sidra Nawaz.
Natalie Sciver continued the steady flow of wickets when she skied to long on, before Danielle Wyatt was the victim of a stunning caught and bowled by Maroof – who ended with impressive figures of two for 19.
Wilson was a steadying hand for her team, eventually scoring an unbeaten 43, just four runs short of her career best. England continued their trial by spin as Amy Jones was stumped and then Katherine Brunt ran herself out – but the home side set a challenging 139 to win.
“I was pretty nervous," admitted Wilson. "It has been five years since I last played and I think I’ve grown up a lot in that time.
“I have worked hard on my game and I know what I want to do, but I pretty much felt like I was on debut again.
“We were joking earlier that if it has been a five year absence you record should be wiped and just start again. So I might propose that."
In reply, Sidra Ameen had a life off the very first ball of the innings. She top-edged Brunt behind but it was called a no ball. Ameen failed to take it as two balls latter she was run out from a direct hit coming in from Wyatt at point.
Jones produced a smart piece of wicket-keeping, a low catch standing up, to see off Maroof who tickled one behind. Glovewomen Jones was in the action again when she easily held a steepler from Javeria Khan – after putting on the highest stand of the match, 30.
Sidra Nawaz and Asmavia Iqbal both departed in quick succession as the afternoon’s procession between dug out and middle continued – both caught in the midfield.
Sana Mir was bowled attempting to scoop Sophie Ecclestone, before the teenager castled Anwer - the game completely turning with quick wickets. Gunn, who ended with stunning figures of two for seven, and Hazell, two for 15, ended the contest to keep England unbeaten this summer.
"We probably didn’t hit enough boundaries in the power play but the main thing was putting a score on the board and the bowlers were outstanding," added a proud captain Knight.
"The batters have taken all the plaudits this series but the bowlers had their day in the sun today."
photos Janos Schmidt