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Pakistan tour of England 2019

Persistent rain washes out series opener

The first ODI between Pakistan and England at the Oval was washed out due to persistent rain.

However, Jofra Archer was in the headlines once again for his hostile opening spell on Wednesday.

He took one wicket and conceded just six runs in four overs before rain meant there was no result of the first ODI.

Pakistan were 80 for two, with Imam-ul-Haq 42 not out and Haris Sohail 14 not out.

Barbados-born Archer was not picked in England's preliminary squad for the World Cup but could make his way into their final 15 with his performances in this five-match series.

"He's obviously a class act," Plunkett, one of England's established quicks, told reporters afterwards.

"He showed today, he's rocked up and bowled really nicely with pace and smashed the right good areas, picked up a wicket in the first few overs, beating the left-hander (Imam) on the outside edge."

Plunkett, England's other wicket-taker in a four-over spell of one for 27 on what is now his Surrey home ground, added: "It looks easy for him, he ambles in and bowls 93 mph, he makes it look effortless."

Questions have been raised about the effect on team morale of catapulting Archer, only recently qualified on residency grounds, into England's World Cup squad.

But Plunkett said: "With him in your squad, you're going to be a better team.

"Whoever performs best should be in the squad. If it wasn't Jofra, someone else would be knocking on the door... If they come in and bowl well, they deserve to be there."

Archer seized his latest chance after England captain Eoin Morgan won Wednesday's delayed toss at The Oval.

He started with a superb maiden over to Imam, generating movement off the deck at high speed.

It was not long before Fakhar Zaman nicked off Archer – the century-making star of Pakistan's 2017 Champions Trophy final win over India at The Oval – for three, caught by Root in the slip cordon.

New batsman Babar Azam (16) struck three boundaries before he was forced into a drive by Plunkett, caught by the wicket-keeper Jos Buttler.

"I still don't feel at my best," said Plunkett. "I feel I can be better, but if I'm still picking wickets up I'm happy with that."

The series continues at Southampton on Saturday, with Plunkett and his team-mates looking to prove their World Cup worth to England selection chief Ed Smith.

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