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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Moeen Ali, Jason Roy, Shoaib Malik in contention after not-so-dry run

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Vaughan strongly backs Archer for World Cup and Ashes (1:02)

Former England captain Michael Vaughan says he would 'drive to Ed Smith's house' to make sure the selector picks Jofra Archer for the upcoming World Cup (1:02)

Big Picture

What did we learn from the 19 overs of play possible at The Oval on Wednesday? Jofra Archer took another step towards breaking into England's World Cup squad - and even his rivals for a spot were impressed by an opening spell of 4-2-6-1 that saw him regularly push up past 90mph. Liam Plunkett, who conceded Archer was "obviously a class act", made a small point of his own by removing Pakistan's best batsman, Babar Azam, though his pace still appeared slightly down.

For Pakistan, the old-fashioned approach of their top order remains a worry. With Fakhar Zaman pinned down and nicked off by Archer the first time he tried to free his arms, there were few signs of Imam-ul-Haq, Babar and Haris Sohail trying to put the bowlers on the back foot - notwithstanding the fact England had won a good toss and conditions required a bit of sizing up early on.

But the series is yet young, and still all square after the rain teased and toyed with those at The Oval for several hours before the umpires decided the ground would not be fit for even a 20-over thrash under floodlights. The World Cup summer is yet to warm to the occasion but the good news is that drier weather is expected over the coming week or so.

The truth, of course, is that neither team learned too much in south London, as the clock ticks down towards the May 23 deadline for finalising those 15-man World Cup squads. With Moeen Ali and Jason Roy returning to fitness, Joe Denly and James Vince might find their chances limited; Pakistan have Shoaib Malik back, which will likely change the balance of their side, and Mohammad Amir still desperately hoping to make his World Cup case. But the first order of the day in Southampton is for clear skies.

Form guide

England WLWLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Pakistan LLLLL

In the spotlight

At the start of the season, Jason Roy was fielding almost as many questions about his chances of involvement in the Ashes as the importance of his role in trying to land a first World Cup for England. Since then, Roy has only batted three times, with a top score of 35 not out, having returned from the Caribbean in March carrying a hamstring strain, then suffering a back spasm while batting in the Royal London Cup. Mindful of how he fell out of form kicking his heels at the IPL two years ago, leading to a poor Champions Trophy, England are keen to get him back playing and scoring runs before facing South Africa in their World Cup opener.

With the ball doing a bit and a pitch to assess, Imam-ul-Haq's unbeaten 42 off 68 before the rain ruined things at The Oval was eminently respectable - plenty of time left in which to potentially kick on, after all. But the sense is that too much conservatism at the top is holding back Pakistan in ODIs. Since the 2017 Champions Trophy, only Afghanistan have batted more slowly in the opening 10-over Powerplay than Pakistan, and a scoring rate of 4.29 is almost two full runs behind England. Imam averages 56.90 in 25 ODIs, which is hard to argue against, but his strike rate of 79.40 is well out of step with the modern game.

Team news

England have Moeen and Roy available again, after rib and back injuries respectively, and they are set to come straight back in for Denly and Vince, bringing the XI back up to something like full strength. Mark Wood is expected to play in the third ODI at Bristol on Wednesday.

England: (possible) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Adil Rashid, 9 Jofra Archer, 10 Chris Woakes, 11 Liam Plunkett.

Malik has returned to join up with the Pakistan squad after a 10-day break for personal reasons. He could step straight into the starting XI, possibly at the expense of Asif. Mohammad Hafeez is back in the nets after a thumb problem, though may not be considered, while Yasir Shah could come into contention if the pitch is dry and receptive to spin. Amir will be hoping to keep his place and get on the field this time.

Pakistan: (possible) 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Haris Sohail, 5 Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt/wk), 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Imad Wasim, 8 Faheem Ashraf, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 11 Mohammad Amir/Yasir Shah

Pitch and conditions

The pitch at the Ageas Bowl is usually hard and flat for limited-overs game, and this looks set to be a biscuit-coloured belter. Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur suggested it was drier than The Oval, so spin may play more of a role. Overnight rain could be a problem and there is a small chance of showers through the day, but the sun may force its way through, too.

Stats and trivia

  • Eoin Morgan is set to draw level with Paul Collingwood on 197 as England's most-capped player in ODIs.

  • The last time these teams met in Southampton, in 2016, England won comfortably on DLS; Pakistan were victorious then years before that, thanks to a Younis Khan hundred.

  • Although England's winning run in bilateral ODI series came to an end with their recent draw in the Caribbean, they have not been beaten over a distance since January 2017.

Quotes

"We know he's a very, very good bowler though and a highly skilled bowler. And he's going to get an opportunity here to put his name forward. We'll see at the end of the series where we are with that."
Mickey Arthur on Amir's World Cup hopes

Pakistan 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st92Fakhar ZamanImam-ul-Haq
2nd135Babar AzamFakhar Zaman
3rd6Babar AzamAsif Ali
4th41Haris SohailAsif Ali
5th49Sarfaraz AhmedAsif Ali
6th22Imad WasimSarfaraz Ahmed
7th8Sarfaraz AhmedFaheem Ashraf
8th8Sarfaraz AhmedHasan Ali