England’s opening game of their one-day international series against Pakistan fell foul of the weather but Jofra Archer still impressed as he continues his introduction to international cricket.
Only 19 overs were bowled at the Kia Oval which saw the tourists reach 80-2 before rain and even hail at one point left the conditions unplayable on the outfield.
That was still enough time for Archer to offer another reminder of his abilities with ball in hand and it looks increasingly impossible that England will begin the tournament without the Barbados-born paceman in their ranks.
After T20 and ODI debuts in Ireland and Wales, Archer’s public audition finally reached English soil and, predictably, he aced it.
His first over was a maiden, beating the bat of Imam-ul-Haq three times with the ball zig-zagging off the pitch then forcing him back with a rapid bouncer.
In his second over he cranked up to 93mph and picked off the outmatched Fakhar Zaman. An attempted force through off side took a thick outside edge and sailed to Joe Root at second slip, safely held after a couple of attempts.
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The 24-year-old had bowled 14 deliveries before conceding his first run, a wide, and was into his fourth over before one came off the bat. Affronted by Imam’s dashed single, Archer responded with an indignant short ball that required hasty evasive action.
At the other end Chris Woakes was tidy, working through five overs for 19, but change bowlers Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes took a couple of overs to warm-up. When Plunkett did find his rhythm it proved too good for the dangerous Babar Azam, looking for a drive outside off stump and edging behind for 16.
Imam and Haris Sohail nudged the score to 71 for two before a heavy shower intervened, sending the players racing to the pavilion. They were soon back on for 14 deliveries, the last of which saw Buttler reprieve Sohail with a botched stumping, Adil Rashid having created the chance with one that spat off the surface.
The teams spent the remainder of the afternoon and early evening watching intermittent rain showers and the umpires finally called time shortly after 7pm, to the frustration of the hardy few who lingered in the stands.