Eoin Morgan admits England’s batsmen let the side down in the first one-day international against Pakistan.
Morgan (76) top-scored, and shared a fourth-wicket stand of 133 with James Taylor (60) - but otherwise, the tourists were off the pace throughout and undermined twice over by collapses.
They stumbled to 14 for three and then, on an increasingly sluggish surface, from 147 without further loss to 161 for seven.
In defence of a paltry 216 all out, even a fine new-ball burst by left-arm swing bowler Reece Topley - who was taking his first wickets in this format, and finished with three for 26 - could not haul them back into the contest as Mohammad Hafeez (102no) and youngster Babar Azam (62no) eased Pakistan past their target in just 43.4 overs.
“Certainly we were slow out of the traps today,” Morgan said, after his team had gone 1-0 down with three to play.
“Given the repair work James Taylor and I did, it’s very disappointing to lose two (more) in the space of four or five overs.”
During his century partnership with Taylor, Morgan was beginning to work out what a winning total might be.
“We were looking at a minimum 250 - but getting there, you can’t get ahead of yourself, particularly on this sort of wicket.
“It wasn’t a crash, bang, wallop type of wicket - I think we assessed that pretty quickly. After about 20 overs, the ball started to hold up and grip a little bit more.”
It was thanks only to number eight Chris Woakes that England even scrambled above 200 - and their bowlers were then left fighting a losing battle.
Asked if it might be an option to strengthen the attack, in the absence of the rested - and subsequently injured - all-rounder Ben Stokes, Morgan conceded that may be possible.
But whatever England’s bowling resources, they had precious little to defend.
“Stokesy leaves a big hole ... it’s something that we will look at,” added Morgan.
“But I don’t think you can look into the bowling too much today - the batting let us down massively.”
Topley’s individual success was a minor consolation.
“He’s a big asset,” said the captain.
“Long term, he’s certainly someone we’re looking to nurture - particularly with his white-ball skills.
“He’s very good for a 21-year-old.”
t the other end of the age spectrum is veteran Pakistan batsman Younus Khan, who caused a stir before play by announcing his 265th ODI would be his last.
Younus was a controversial inclusion for this series, having featured infrequently in recent months, and Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan did not sound especially enamoured in a television interview with his decision to pull out of the remaining matches.
But the 37-year-old said: “After the World Cup, I’ve been waiting for this moment for seven or eight months.
“I pushed myself, the selectors, everyone in Pakistan, that Younus Khan can still play one-day cricket for his country.
“It was never in my mind that I’d be playing two or three series. I just wanted one chance to play and retire myself, on my conditions.”
Pakistan’s all-time record Test run-scorer has no doubt his timing is spot on.
“I think this is the right time for me,” he added.
“My body is in good shape; my mind is in good shape, and my thinking is in good shape - so this is the right time.”