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Jade Dernbach is optimistic about continuing his wicket-taking form for England.
Gareth Copley Staff
Jade Dernbach is optimistic about continuing his wicket-taking form for England.

Early wickets the primary focus of England paceman Jade Dernbach

Three-wicket haul against England Lions puts fast bowler in good stead ahead of ODI series against Pakistan.

ABU DHABI // The globe-trotting Jade Dernbach made the perfect start to his England year by taking a wicket with his first ball on Friday.

Dernbach had figures of three wickets for two runs at one stage as he and Steven Finn turned the warm-up fixture against England Lions into a mismatch at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

Both the fast bowlers finished with three wickets as the Lions were bowled out for 96 in under 29 overs; then, even after a "revised" target of 230 was agreed, England coasted past that with 25 balls to spare, thanks to half-centuries from Alastair Cook (68) and Jonathan Trott (75 not out).

Dernbach reflected on his telling contribution, including knocking back Alex Hales's off-stump for a golden duck, with justified satisfaction.

"I hope it can continue," he said, looking forward to the four-match one-day international series against Pakistan which will begin here on Monday. It was a nice way to start, to set the tone, and that's a job we need to do in this series to be successful.

"The aim in any one-day cricket is to take early wickets. You're giving yourself the best possible opportunity of slowing down the scoring rate. If we can keep doing that on a game-to-game basis, we'll be all right."

Dernbach discounted any concerns that this fixture, played during the day, might not be ideal preparation to take on Pakistan in four day-nighters.

"There are a few training sessions scheduled under lights," he said. "It was just important we got used to the conditions, for guys who might not have played at this stadium before. Playing in the heat is always going to help to get the boys accustomed. So I think today was perfect for the guys.

"The aim of today was to get a run-out with all the boys together as a team, especially out here with the conditions. Then to get a victory like that is obviously impressive."

David Pearson, the Lions manager, acknowledged that his young players were not competitive as they concluded their winter programme.

"We were very much looking forward to it and we're a little bit disappointed that we weren't able to put up a better show," he said.

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