England successfully chased a potentially tricky victory target of 261 to record a three wicket win against a spirited Associate XI in Dubai.

One can't help wonder whether the underdogs would have pulled off a famous win if their spearhead, Afghan speedster Hamid Hassan had been fit to lead the attack on the final day.

Without his presence, the Associates toiled manfully but were always lacking a cutting edge as they fought desperately to restrict England.

The Associates resumed on 90 for 5, and soon lost Mohammed Nabi (13), and Christi Viljoen for 3, run out by the unlikely figure of Monty Panesar, deputising for Graeme Swann.

Mohammed Shahzad continued to play his shots, scoring his second half century of the game, and in the process passing the 1000 first class run landmark.

He hit 13 fours in his 74 from 104 balls, sharing in an enterprising 43 run 8th wicket stand with Majid Haq (26*). After Shazad was caught at deep mid-off, Boyd Rankin reverted to his normal batting type and was skittled third ball for 0.

His dismissal sparked a decalration from Associate skipper William Porterfield, leaving England a target of 261 in 69 overs.

Andrew Strauss was in sparkling form, dispatching a number of loose deliveries to the boundary, as he and Alistair Cook added 63 in just 11 overs. Cook was dismissed for 26 by Craig Williams, and shortly after Trott survived a scare when on 0, the umpires ruled that a catch by Shahzad hadn't been taken cleanly.

Strauss and Trott added 70 in quick time, before Majid Haq accounted for the England skipper for 78 (13 fours, 1 six, 96 balls).

Kevin Pietersen's woes against left-arm spin continued when he managed just a single before being dismissed by George Dockrell, well caught by Boyd Rankin.

Ian Bell (39) and Trott (35) took the total to 180 for 3, and a comfortable win looked on the cards. However Mohammed Nabi (3-66) claimed both either side of another Eoin Morgan failure, and suddenly it was game on at 199 for 6.

Steve Davies (37*) and Stuart Broad (31) both survived chances in adding 61 for the 7th wicket to take their side to the brink of victory, before Broad went with the scores level, another wicket for Nabi.

Graeme Swann scored the winning run to seal an opening tour win for England, who have just one further warm up game ahead of their series with Pakistan.

The experimental game was very much a success story and plaudits must be given both to the ICC and England for giving the Associate XI the much needed exposure - hopefully there will be much more in the years ahead.