Jos Buttler put weeks of uncertainty behind him, as the England batsman and wicket keeper returned to his scintillating best, with a phenomenal and powerful hitting display versus Pakistan in the Fourth One Day International in Dubai - helping England seal a 3-1 series victory.
Buttler reached 116 not out from 52 balls, but more remarkably hit triple figures in just 46 balls. The Lancashire man's innings was the fastest in English ODI history, and the fifth fastest in one-day history altogether. Buttler now holds the top three quickest innings at 50 over level, for England, at 46 balls, 61 balls and 66 balls respectively.
Roy makes maiden international hundred
Before the number six had even padded up however, opener Jason Roy was hitting his straps also. Roy and Alex Hales put on an opening partnership of fifty, before Hales was dismissed by Mohammad Irfan for 22.
With England on 54-1, Joe Root once more steadied the ship and together with his Surrey partner, the two put on a 140 partership, with Roy notching his first international century en-route, whilst Root hitting 71 off 71 balls. By the time Roy finally went, he had reached 102 of 117 balls and England were 194-2.
Eoin Morgan's men were well set, but when Root was stumped by Sarfraz Ahmed seven balls later and Morgan himself followed shortly after, England had slumped to 227-4. The run rate also plummeted.
In strode Buttler and with James Taylor at the crease also, the partnership potential was grand, despite the former having toiled in the UAE of late.
Buttler at his destructive best
Buttler shrugged off early nerves and soon took to the Pakistani bowling attack like the player of old, hitting eight sixes and eight boundaries, almost effortlessly. Despite losing Taylor at 306-5, Buttler powered on and reached his ton at just over two runs a ball, in a typically swashbuckling display.
Buttler reached 116 not out, with his side 355-6. For Pakistan's bowler, only Irfan and Azhar Ali took away any credit, with figures of 2-64-10 and 2-26-5 respectively. Pakistan had 356 to chase, a total which had never been chased down in the UAE.
Pakistan take to their task
Ali's side had a mountain to climb, but were not to be perturbed in their efforts to draw the series level and prevent a heavy loss. Pakistan put on 45, before Ahmed Shezhad was caught by Moeen Ali off David Willey and when Ali was out also, there appeared to be little chance of a run chase.
Pakistan were trying to build momentum, but kept losing wickets at key stages. As Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam put on fifty, the ball began to fly in similar fashion to England's innings. Alex Hales was guilty of shelling a dolly in the field to give Pakistan hope, whilst Hafeez was on 26.
Pakistan achilles heel proves their downfall
Just when the boundaries were flowing however, it was once again the Pakistani achilles heel of running between the wickets that reared it's ugly head, as Hafeez was ran out for 37. The home side kept putting on runs but interspersed wickets prevented any real progress toward the 356 charge.
Hales compensed his team for his fielding faux-pas, with catches to dismiss Babar and to take a superb swan-dive catch to see off the disbelieving Shoiab Malik. With six down for 228, Sarfraz Ahmed was the only remaining flicker of hope, but when he went to Adil Rashid, hope was all but extinguished, Rashid and Moeen Ali taking three wickets a-piece, with Rashid continuing his rise to prominence.
In the end, England eased to victory, dismissing Pakistan for 271, to win by 84 runs and take a 3-1 series win. For England now, thoughts turn to the Twenty20 series, before a test series in South Africa. But after a poor start in this ODI series, England have responded impressively.