After another collapse, Pakistan crawl home to face uncertain future
It was yet another Pakistan collapse at the Rose Bowl, Southampton.
Set 257 to win the match and the series, the visitors tumbled from 63 without loss to 135 all out after batting under the lights.
Pakistan, under one-day captain Shahid Afridi, bounced back from a two-game deficit in the 50 overs series with wins at the Oval and Lord's.
They bowled with great spirit and skill again on Wednesday but were thwarted by a match-winning 107 not out off 101 balls from Eion Morgan, who displayed all the steely application and ability to improvise which have made him such an outstanding one-day batsman.
Off-spinner Graeme Swann, a crucial figure in England's Ashes plans this year, then gained prodigious turn to finish with three for 26 from nine overs. Each of his victims was bowled.
And Pakistan, from 63 without loss at one stage, crashed to 135 all out, to lose by 121 runs.
Image: Pakistan's Shahid Afridi leaves the field after being dismissed during the fifth one-day international cricket match against England at the Rose Bowl in Southampton
'No one wants to play cricket in those circumstances'
Pakistan limp home on Thursday unlamented, unloved and unwanted by a country which had been prepared to grant them sanctuary while security threats make it impossible for them to play at home.
A profound sense of betrayal has poisoned relations between England and Pakistan since three players, including test captain Salman Butt, were suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after a corruption investigation into the fourth test at Lord's.
Butt and his two opening bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were accused by a British newspaper of accepting money to manipulate incidents within the match.
"This summer has clearly demonstrated that when there is a sniff of something in the air it devalues the whole game," England captain Andrew Strauss said Wednesday.
"No one wants to play cricket in those circumstances. The players from both sides have been put under a lot of stress and pressure. The ICC need to leave no stone unturned and we need to be sure that every game of cricket from now on is not tarnished."
Image: England's Paul Collingwood (C) celebrates with Steve Davies after dismissing Pakistan's Umar Akmal
Pakistan's tour can rival England's 1932-33 bodyline series
Strauss, speaking after his team had clinched the five-match one-day series on a balmy evening at the Rose Bowl, had seriously considered pulling out of the fourth match at Lord's after his team were bizarrely accused of match-fixing by Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt.
The nadir of a tour which may rival England's 1932-33 bodyline series in Australia in its implications for the game was reached soon afterwards on the same morning.
England batsman Jonathan Trott and Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz had to be separated after an altercation in the pre-match nets session and Pakistan one-day captain Shahid Afridi said he had considered calling the police.
Image: England's Stuart Broad (R) celebrates after dismissing Pakistan's Asad Shafiq
A nastier edge was evident Wednesday
The usual banter between rival supporters has continued unabated but a nastier edge was evident Wednesday.
"Are you going to throw the match and buy a corner shop with the proceeds?," one England supporter shouted at Afridi as he stepped off the Pakistan team bus before the day-night match.
The fiercely competitive British tabloids are not going to let up either.
The ICC is investigating allegations of a suspicious run pattern in the third one-day match at the Oval based on a report in one newspaper and another featured pictures Thursday morning of fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar engaged in what it said could be construed as ball tampering.
Pakistan are scheduled to play series against South Africa and New Zealand before the 50 overs World Cup on the Indian subcontinent early next year.
Image: England's Paul Collingwood (4th R) is congratulated after dismissing Pakistan's Umar Akmal