Jofra Archer makes classy return as England beat Pakistan in second T20

Jofra Archer celebrates an impressive return to the England side
Jofra Archer celebrates an impressive return to the England side - PA/Bradley Collyer

The big beaming smile said it all. Jofra Archer’s first international wicket for 440 days was an important step back on the road to full recovery for him and a welcome sight for England.

This was a day he would have dreamed of as he endured the monotony of months of “hamster on a wheel” gym work. Two wickets in a winning return in front of a full house at Edgbaston that chanted his name was just what he and England needed.

Reaching speeds of more than 90mph, Archer brought back the pizzazz to a white-ball team that has looked ordinary recently and helped them to a 23-run victory.

“The hardest thing has been the constant routine – gym every three or four days, running on the other days. That constant, robotic routine, day-in, day-out,” Archer admitted before the game. “But I’m back here, so it has to be worth it.”

It was. Even though Archer’s first over went for 15, he held his poise and his next three, sprinkled at points through the Pakistan innings, brought two for 13 as he immediately fired a reminder of why he is so good in T20 cricket.

His pace, lethally disguised skiddy bouncer, slower balls and yorkers will be so valuable for Jos Buttler at the World Cup, where bowlers who can deliver four inexpensive overs and take wickets are gold-plated.

Archer’s first wicket since September 2022 was Azeem Khan hitting a 90mph length ball to Moeen Ali at cover, the second a yorker Imad Wasim steered to deep cover.

Combining with his great friend, Chris Jordan, the two Barbados-born bowlers closed out this victory for England. Jordan was excellent in the field, holding two good boundary catches, and tidy with the ball at the death as Pakistan ran out of road chasing 184 to win.

“I thought he [Archer] was brilliant,” said Buttler. “You can see the emotion, taking wickets again, is fantastic. He’s not just going to be the Jofra Archer of old straight away, but a really positive performance. It’s absolutely about trying to get overs into Jofra but looking after him as well. I thought the whole bowling group was brilliant.”

This is a good warm-up series for England against top class opponents with a dangerous attack. It is worth so much more than the going-through-the-motions exercise against Ireland that preceded the dismal India World Cup campaign last year when England pinned their hopes on the old guard and hoped it would all come together on the night. It didn’t and they were poor. But they have learned, recalling players from the IPL, using these games to bed in their top six and Buttler work through his bowling combinations.

“We learned a lot from mistakes we made in 50-over World Cup,” said vice-captain Moeen Ali. “Jos and management don’t want to do that again. It is about having clarity and planning what we are going to do. We can’t expect to turn up to a World Cup and expect to win.”

Buttler was right about the bowlers. The attack combined nicely, and defended what looked a slightly below par total after a two-paced England innings. They came out swinging, flying to 96 for one off ten overs with Buttler and Will Jacks tearing into the bowling.

Buttler’s captaincy relies so much on his batting. He leads from the front because he lacks the Ben Stokes tactical touch and man-management genius. England’s World Cup in India was made worse by Buttler’s form; he averaged 15 and forgot how to smile as the pressure grew.

His 84 from 51 will lift him and showed the benefit of an IPL season. Jacks too came into this game after a good IPL and looked stronger and more mature than at any other time in an England shirt. He really could be a star of the World Cup. He slotted his first boundary straight down the ground for six and was the only batsman to go after Imad Wasim, stepping back and drilling him over cover for six.

The one worry for England is how Imad’s left-arm spin tied down the right hand-dominant middle order and the innings did stutter after Jonny Bairstow’s dismissal, England losing four for 21 in 21 balls as Pakistan recalibrated their lengths, learning to exploit a two-paced pitch in the closing overs. Buttler fell with two overs to go and that was the end of hopes of a 200 total.

Pakistan were strokeless in the powerplay and it was hard to recover. England opened with Moeen’s off spin because of the the left-hander Saim Ayub in the top two but it was the right-hander, Mohammad Rizwan, that fell first, for a three-ball duck in the opening over.

Pakistan hit back through Fakhar Zaman, who struck some of the sweetest shots of the day, whacking his first four balls for four and made a violent 45 off 21, but Buttler always had Archer up his sleeve.

He removed Khan, Fakhar fell to a skier in Liam Livingstone’s only over and Archer’s came back for the 17th over and knocked over the dangerous Imad.

This was a comprehensive England win, a really good workout with a World Cup just two weeks away. And Archer is back. That could have ramifications far beyond this game and the World Cup.

England vs Pakistan, 2nd T20: As it happened

06:08 PM BST

The player of the match is Jos Buttler

I think we got a huge amount out of the game. First and foremost we won the game, and then there were some good performances from everybody.

I feel like I’m hitting the ball well, which is great. Jofra was brilliant. You can see the emotion of taking wickets again for England; it’s fantastic. We’ve got to temper expectations – he’s not going to be the Jofra Archer of old straight away, but it was a really positive performance.

The whole bowling group was brilliant. The two overs from Chris Jordan at the death were outstanding.

06:04 PM BST

Babar Azam’s verdict

Our bowlers did very well to keep England to a par score. In the batting there were moments but we didn’t have enough partnerships. Fakhar really dominated and if I could have stayed with him for a few overs I think it would have been a different ball game.

Imad is an experienced bowler, very clever, and his batting has improved a lot. It’s very good for us that he is back.

06:00 PM BST

A very good day’s work

England will take plenty from that victory. Jos Buttler top-scored with an emphatic 84, Jofra Archer bowled smoothly on his return and took two important wickets, Moeen Ali and Reece Topley were a very effective new-ball partnership and the fielding - particularly Chris Jordan’s - was outstanding.

05:55 PM BST

England win by 23 runs

Wicket! Shaheen c Salt b Topley 6 Shaheen blasts Topley towards cow corner, where Salt takes the umpteenth running catch of the afternoon. England go 1-0 up in the series after a very pleasing day’s work. FOW: 160 all out.

05:52 PM BST

OVER 19: PAK 158/9 (Shaheen 7 Haris 3)

The game is over but Jofra Archer saves a couple of runs with a swooping stop at long on. He has had a really good day; so has his big brother Chris Jordan, who took two terrific catches and has finished with figures of 4-0-31-1.

Pakistan need 26 from the final over. I can’t justify the use of bold text, not with the last pair at the crease.

05:50 PM BST


Amir b Jordan 5 Shaheen overturns an LBW decision on review, but Jordan gets his man - any man will do - when Amir is bowled by a slower ball. Jordan does a little dance of delight after taking his first T20 international wicket in 14 months. FOW: 154/9

05:45 PM BST

OVER 18: PAK 153/8 (Shaheen 5 Amir 5)

Mohammad Amir edges/steers his first ball for four.  That’s the end of promising and heartwarming spell from Jofra Archer: 4-0-28-2, with an average speed of 88mph and a top speed of 92. There’s nobody like him - not in England, not in the world.

05:43 PM BST


Imad c Livingstone b Archer 22 England are closing in on a good victory. Jofra Archer gets his second wicket when Imad pings a yorker straight to Livingstone on the cover boundary. Imad timed the shot too well. FOW: 147/8

05:41 PM BST

OVER 17: PAK 146/7 (Imam 22 Shaheen 3)

Now Jordan enjoys a bit of death bowling, conceding just six singles from his third over. That’s a superb effort which has pushed the required rate up to almost 13 an over.

05:35 PM BST

OVER 16: PAK 140/7 (Imam 19, Shaheen 0)

That was the last ball of the over: Pakistan need 44 from 24 balls.

05:35 PM BST


Iftikhar c Jordan b Topley 23

Topley’s over starts with a clever shot from Imad, who makes room to slice a short ball over short third man and away for four. He’s such a smart, resourceful cricketer.

This could be the big over Pakistan need. A bad misfield by Bairstow at third man gives Iftikhar a bonus boundary, which he follows with a massive six over square leg.

Iftikhar tries again next ball but launches the ball a million miles in the air, and Jordan runs in from long-on to take a beautifully judged catch. That ball was swirling all over the place - it’s very windy in Birmingham - yet Jordan took it with the minimum of fuss. FOW: 140/7

05:30 PM BST

OVER 15: PAK 124/6 (Iftikhar 12 Imad 14)

The arrival of a pitch invader means a short delay during Archer’s third over.

Archer’s first two overs were all pace but now it’s time for a few variations, and he does superbly to restrict Pakistan to five singles. For a chap playing their first game in 14 months, even one as talented as Archer, he’s bowled ever so well.

Pakistan need 60 from 30 balls.

05:23 PM BST

OVER 14: PAK 119/6 (Iftikhar 9 Imad 12)

Imad Wasim, a very good No8, blasts Rashid down the ground for four and then lifts a thrilling six over wide mid-on. Rashid saw Imad coming and bowled the ball outside leg stump, but Imad was still good enough to launch it into the crowd.

Iftikhar makes it a brilliant over for Pakistan by monstering a slog sweep over long-on for six more. The run-rate is nothing to worry about for Pakistan, which is another way of saying that England need to break this partnership.

05:20 PM BST

OVER 13: PAK 101/6 (Iftikhar 2 Imad 1)

Pakistan need 83 from 42 balls.

05:18 PM BST


Fakhar c Brook b Livingstone 45 That should be the match for England. Fakhar Zaman smashes Liam Livingstone for a monstrous straight six, tries to repeat the stroke and picks out Harry Brook running in from long on. That was really good from Livingstone, who slipped the ball much wider so that Fakhar had to fetch it.

It’s the end of a belting innings from Fakhar, 45 from only 21 balls. FOW: 100/6

05:15 PM BST

OVER 12: PAK 92/5 (Fakhar 39 Iftikhar 1)

Iftikhar Ahmed just manages to get something on his first ball, a 91mph homing missile. Archer’s pace is up in this over, with most if not all deliveries in excess of 90mph, and he ends with it with a sharp bouncer to Fakhar. Really good stuff from Archer, and figures of 2-0-16-1 look a whole lot better than 1-0-15-0.

05:12 PM BST


Azam c Ali b Archer 11 Jofra Archer strikes! Azam Khan drives a full ball straight to cover, where Moeen Ali takes a simple catch. Archer breaks into a slightly sheepish smile, possibly because he knows it wasn’t the greatest delivery he’s ever bowled. Don’t you worry about that Jofra, you’ve earned every bit of fortune that comes your way. FOW: 91/5

05:09 PM BST

OVER 11: PAK 91/4 (Fakhar 39 Azam 11)

After three dot balls, and with the pressure building, Azam Khan hits two scintillating boundaries off Jordan, both just behind square on the off side.

The second was also a no-ball, which means a free hit. Azam heaves that to cow corner for just a single.

05:03 PM BST

OVER 10: PAK 80/4 (Fakhar 38 Azam 2)

The new batter Azam Khan survives a stumping check first ball after playing and missing at Rashid. His foot stayed grounded.

Pakistan need 104 from 60 balls. If anyone can, Fakhar can.

A master at work: Adil Rashid in action at Edgbaston
A master at work: Adil Rashid in action at Edgbaston - Paul Ellis/AFP

04:59 PM BST


Shadab c Jordan b Rashid 3 One legspinner dismisses another. Shadab mistimes a slog sweep over wide mid-on, and Jordan sprints in from the boundary to make a difficult catch look straightforward. He might be the best fielder England have ever had. FOW: 78/4

04:57 PM BST

OVER 9: PAK 76/3 (Fakhar 37 Shadab 2)

Fakhar continues his savage innings by charging Moeen and launching a humongous straight six. He has 37 from 16 balls; Moeen ends a very handy spell with figures of 4-0-26-2.

04:53 PM BST


Babar LBW b Ali 32 That’s a big wicket for England. Babar misses a sweep and is hit in front of middle stump. He reviews the LBW, more in hope than expectation: there are three reds so Pakistan lose a review. Rashid has helped take a wicket for his mate with that tight previous over. FOW: 67/3

04:51 PM BST

OVER 8: PAK 67/2 (Babar 30 Fakhar 30)

Time for England’s trump card, Adil Rashid. He bowled a wicket maiden against Pakistan in the World Cup final 18 months ago; no chance of replicating that but he does start beautifully, conceding only three runs.

England needed a quiet over like that. Pakistan need 117 from 12 overs.

04:48 PM BST

OVER 7: PAK 64/2 (Babar 31 Fakhar 29)

Archer’s pace in that over was between 86 and 89 mph. His mate Chris Jordan bowls a good seventh over and is a bit unlucky when Babar edges the last ball just wide of Buttler for four. That brings up a merciless fifty partnership from just 21 balls.

04:42 PM BST

OVER 6: PAK 55/2 (Babar 25 Fakhar 27)

Jofra Archer is back and bowling for England. If that doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what to offer you.

There’s no sentiment from the Pakistan batsmen: Archer’s first over has gone for 15! Babar drove him over mid-off for four, then Fakhar flicked four and scooped a spectacular six. He has 27 not out from just nine balls. And after a slow start, Pakistan have scored 41 from the last 15.

Jofra Archer reflects on an expensive first over
Jofra Archer reflects on an expensive first over - Shaun Botterill/Getty

04:38 PM BST

OVER 5: PAK 40/2 (Babar 20 Fakhar 17)

Babar sweeps Moeen for three, Fakhar sees that and sweeps him for four. That makes it 20 runs from the last five legal deliveries (Topley bowled a wide in the previous over between Fakhar’s second and third boundaries).

Moeen calms things down a little after that, though Babar still manages to get another cut away for four.

And now it’s time for Jofra Archer...

04:32 PM BST

OVER 4: PAK 27/2 (Babar 12 Fakhar 12)

Nearly two wickets in two balls for Topley when Fakhar edges his first ball just wide of the flying Moeen Ali at slip. The ball runs away for four, and Fakhar rushes to 12 from three balls with a scoop and a ferocious pull through midwicket. That’s how to change the mood.

04:30 PM BST


Ayub c Salt b Topley 2 This is really good from England. The ball after Babar top-edged a pull that just cleared mid-on, Ayub pulled another short ball from Topley straight to Phil Salt at deep square. Pakistan are in bother. FOW: 14/2

04:28 PM BST

OVER 3: PAK 12/1 (Ayub 1 Babar 10)

Moeen continues and persuades Jos Buttler to review an LBW appeal against Ayub, who seemed to miss a premeditated sweep. Replays showed the ball brushed the glove first, so Ayub survives. No matter: that’s another terrific over from Moeen, who has Imadish figures of 2-0-4-1.

04:24 PM BST

OVER 2: PAK 10/1 (Ayub 1 Babar 9)

Reece Topley takes the second over of the innings. Babar waves successive deliveries through the covers for four and then three, shots of rare class made to look routine. If Pakistan are to win, he’ll probably need to bat for at least 10 overs.

04:18 PM BST

OVER 1: PAK 1/1 (Ayub 0 Babar 1)

A near perfect start for England: one over, one run, one wicket.

Moeen Ali celebrates the wicket of Mohammad Rizwan
Moeen Ali celebrates the wicket of Mohammad Rizwan - Paul Ellis/AFP

04:17 PM BST


Rizwan c Livingstone b Ali 0

Mohammad Rizwan has come out to open with Saim Ayub, which means the captain Babar Azam will bat at No3.

He’ll be batting any second now, because Rizwan has gone third ball! He dragged Moeen Ali straight to midwicket, where Liam Livingstone took a comfortable catch. FOW: 0/1

04:14 PM BST

Here come the players

Jofra Archer isn’t going to take the first over - Moeen Ali has the ball - but it won’t be long before we see him in action.

04:13 PM BST

The shot of the innings

04:02 PM BST

OVER 20: ENG 184/7 (Livingstone 3 Archer 12)

Jofra’s back, baby! He gives England the finish they needed by larruping 12 from four balls, including a six over long on. Mohammad Amir - who bowled beautifully - finishes the innings with a perfect yorker that Livingstone can only push back to the bowler.

Pakistan need 184 to win. I think England have enough, though I wouldn’t put the farm on it.

Jofra Archer touches gloves with Liam Livingstone
Jofra Archer touches gloves with Liam Livingstone - Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

03:57 PM BST

OVER 19: ENG 169/7 (Livingstone 1 Archer 0)

That was the last ball of Shaheen’s spell: 4-0-40-3. The new batter is Jofra Archer.

03:57 PM BST


Jordan c Rauf b Shaheen 3 There goes another. Jordan chases a wide short ball from Shaheen and top-edges it miles in the air. Haris Rauf does the rest. FOW: 169/7

03:53 PM BST


Ali c Rizwan b Shaheen 4 England’s middle order is going up in smoke. Moeen Ali slugs a low full toss to long on, where Mohammad Rizwan takes a comfortable running catch. England have lost four wickets for 21 runs in 21 balls. FOW: 165/6

03:52 PM BST

OVER 18: ENG 164/5 (Ali 4, Livingstone 0)

Pakistan are bowling a lot of slower balls now, and the commentators think the pitch may be slightly two-paced. It’s so hard to know what constitutes a good score, especially after the recent IPL, but I think 180 would be very competitive.

03:51 PM BST


Buttler c Shadab b Rauf 84 A big wicket for Pakistan with two overs remaining. The ball after launching Haris Rauf over mid-off for four, Buttler dumps a slower ball to long-on. He dropped his bat while playing the stroke and knew straight away it wasn’t going to Shadab on the boundary. It was a lovely innings though, 84 from 51 balls. FOW: 164/5

03:50 PM BST

A worrying sign for England?

Excellent from Imad Wasim with two for 19 from four overs. Is it a worrying sign for England’s right-hand stocked top order that a left-arm spinner tied them down? Moeen is the first lefthander and he is at six. Could he float up the order to break up the right handers, making England a little less predictable?

03:46 PM BST

OVER 17: ENG 157/4 (Buttler 79 Ali 2)

Buttler jumps back to pull Amir through square leg for four. That aside it’s another good over for Pakistan, with only eight from it in total. Amir has bowled nicely today.

03:42 PM BST

OVER 16: ENG 149/4 (Buttler 72 Ali 1)

Imad ends a splendid spell with figures of 4-0-19-2. Watch out for him at the World Cup.

03:40 PM BST


Brook b Imad 1 You miss, Imad hits. Harry Brook has gone second ball, missing an attempted slap through the off side. If you do that against somebody who bowls as straight as Imad, you’re in trouble. FOW: 147/4

03:37 PM BST

OVER 15: ENG 144/3 (Buttler 69 Brook 0)

That was the last ball of the over.

03:37 PM BST


Bairstow c Iftikhar b Shaheen 21 Bairstow’s violent cameo ends on 21. He hit successive deliveries from Shaheen for four and six but then holed out to Iftikhar at deep square leg. In comes Harry Brook. FOW: 144/3

03:33 PM BST

OVER 14: ENG 130/2 (Buttler 69 Bairstow 11)

Buttler reverse-sweeps Shadab over point for a mighty six, his third of the innings, and then Bairstow gets his first with a brusque slog-sweep to cow corner.

The commentator Mike Athertson compared that Buttler six to a similar shot from Kevin Pietersen off Muttiah Muralitharan on this ground. That was in a Test match, 18 years ago, which shows how far ahead of his time KP was.

Shadad finishes with bruising figures of 4-0-55-0.

03:27 PM BST

OVER 13: ENG 110/2 (Buttler 56 Bairstow 4)

Buttler brings up his half-century with an utterly brilliant shot, scooping an attempted yorker from Haris Rauf over the keeper’s head for six.

His initialsake isn’t yet playing with the same fluency and has a lucky escape when he top-edges a slower ball that drops safely on the leg side.

Even with that six, this is a good mini-spell for Pakistan. The last three overs have yielded only 14 runs for England.

03:24 PM BST

OVER 12: ENG 101/2 (Buttler 48 Bairstow 3)

Shadab, whose first two overs disappeared for 32, concedes just three from his third. Bairstow is swinging a little desperately and has made a slow start, three from eight balls.

Jos Buttler is watched by the Pakistan keeper Azam Khan
Jos Buttler is watched by the Pakistan keeper Azam Khan - Philip Brown/Getty Images

03:20 PM BST

OVER 11: ENG 97/2 (Buttler 46 Bairstow 1)

Jonny Bairstow is beaten by his first ball and hit on the pad by the second. It’s missing leg stump by a distance but an overexcitable Haris Rauf persuades his captain Babar Azam to waste a review.

That aside, it was an outstanding over from Haris: one run, one wicket.

03:15 PM BST


Jacks c Shadab b Rauf 37 Ach, after all that talk about how well Will Jacks is playing, he falls to the first ball after drinks. He sliced a slower ball straight to backward point, where Shadab Khan took the catch with ease and glee. FOW: 96/2

03:12 PM BST

OVER 10: ENG 96/1 (Buttler 46 Jacks 37)

My word. Jacks, tired of being tied down by Imad Wasim, backs away to launch a spectacular six over extra cover. That’s a helluva shot. Maybe I’m imagining it, because of all the talk about his IPL century, but Jacks looks different today than in his previous England appearances: more relaxed, more dominant, more certain.

Maybe it’s just the security of knowing he’s in England’s starting XI for the World Cup. Either way, Jacks has 37 from 22 balls, Buttler 46 from 29.


03:09 PM BST

OVER 9: ENG 87/1 (Buttler 45 Jacks 29)

Imad Wasim has conceded five runs in two overs. The other spinner, Shadab, has disappeared for 31. There are three more boundaries in his second over: a thump through the covers from Jacks followed by a reverse sweep and a cut from Buttler.

03:05 PM BST

OVER 8: ENG 70/1 (Buttler 33 Jacks 24)

Another canny over from Imad Wasim, who has figures of 2-0-5-1 in an otherwise fast start from England. Will Jacks, who has pummelled everyone else, is beaten and then almost offers a return catch.

03:02 PM BST

OVER 7: ENG 67/1 (Buttler 32 Jacks 22)

Pakistan usually have the most varied attack in the world cricket. In seven overs we’ve seen left-arm pace, right-arm pace, left-arm spin and now right-arm legspin from Shadab Khan.

His start isn’t the most auspicious. Buttler cuts the first ball four and muscles the last over long-on for six. England look like they want a minimum of 200.

02:59 PM BST

OVER 6: ENG 53/1 (Buttler 19 Jacks 21)

Jacks slaps Mohammad Amir for four more, the last ball of a pretty good Powerplay for England. Jacks has 20 off his last six balls, 21 from 10 overall.

Will Jacks hits out
Will Jacks hits out - Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

02:54 PM BST

A good workout for England’s batters

Fantastic atmosphere at Edgbaston and feels like a home game for Pakistan. This is England’s top order for the World Cup, with Livingstone declared fit and playing, so a good workout against a very decent attack. Shaheen Shah Afridi is terrific to watch, Haris Rauf is rapid and Shadab Khan had plenty of joy against England in the past.

02:54 PM BST

OVER 5: ENG 44/1 (Buttler 14 Jacks 16)

Will Jacks tucks into the new bowler Haris Rauf, driving successive deliveries for six and four before making room to slice the final ball of the over for four more. Seventeen from the over.

02:49 PM BST

OVER 4: ENG 27/1 (Buttler 13 Jacks 1)

A brilliant first over from Imad Wasim, just two runs and a wicket - and that’s during the Powerplay. He could be a seriously effectively player on the slower Caribbean pitches.

Pakistan celebrate the wicket of Jos Buttler
Pakistan celebrate the wicket of Jos Buttler - Michael Steele/Getty Images

02:47 PM BST


Salt c Shaheen b Imad 13 Phil Salt dies by the long handle. He tried to go after the left-arm spinner Imad Wasim immediately, hoicking his first ball over wide mid-on, but he didn’t get hold of it and Shaheen Afridi ran round from long-on to take a superb catch. FOW: 25/1

02:45 PM BST

OVER 3: ENG 25/0 (Salt 13 Buttler 12)

Salt drags Shaheen’s first ball over mid-on for four. He isn’t middling much but that ‘ll never stop him swinging, certainly not after the six months he’s had.

After Salt inside-edges another attempted yorker for a single, Buttler cuffs Shaheen down the ground for two boundaries in three balls. England aren’t batting fluently - Buttler is beaten again to end the over - but they are going at a good rate.

Shaheen Shah Afridi bowls at Edgbaston
Shaheen Shah Afridi bowls at Edgbaston - Paul Ellis/AFP

02:41 PM BST

OVER 2: ENG 12/0 (Salt 8 Buttler 4)

It’s left-arm swing at both ends, first Shaheen and now Mohammad Amir, recently recalled after four years out of the side for various reasons.

His first over is a cracker. Buttler edges an attempted inswinging yorker just past the stumps, then both batters are beaten by wider outswingers. Really classy bowling.

02:35 PM BST

OVER 1: ENG 8/0 (Salt 5 Buttler 3)

Shaheen Afridi, a master at taking wickets in the first over, tries an inswinging yorker first ball. It turns into a low full toss and Salt drives it to mid-off.

Salt is beaten by the next ball, then gets off the mark. Buttler times his first ball past cover for two before digging out a yorker for a single, and Salt ends the over by clattering the first boundary over extra cover. It took him four balls, which is positively ponderous.

02:29 PM BST

Here come the players

This could be a lot of fun: Phil Salt and Jos Buttler against Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir and Haris Rauf.

02:23 PM BST

Jofra Archer is back!

And here he is, speaking to Sky Sports.

I want to get out there before I tell you how I feel. But being around the guys after rehabbing for as long as I can remember, it feels really good.

The hardest thing has been the constant routine - gym every three or four days, running on the other days. That constant, robotic routine, day-in, day-out. I felt like a hamster on a wheel. But I’m back here, so it has to be worth it. Hopefully the rain stays away.

I’ve been bowling properly since November, but this is a step up in intensity. Hopefully I can get through today, then get through the other two games and put myself on the plane.

I can’t look too far ahead [England’s first two World Cup games are in Barbados, where Archer was born]. Given the last few years I’ve had, I have to take it game by game. But hopefully I’ll get the chance to play at Kensington Oval.

02:07 PM BST

The teams

A couple of very rapid bowlers return: Jofra Archer for England, Haris Rauf for Pakistan. Chris Jordan is preferred to Sam Curran, the player of the tournament when England won the World Cup in 2022, at No8.

England Salt, Buttler (c/wk), Jacks, Bairstow, Brook, Livingstone, Ali, Jordan, Archer, Rashid, Topley.

Pakistan Babar (c), Ayub, Rizwan, Fakhar, Shadab, Azam (wk), Iftikhar, Imad, Shaheen, Haris, Amir.

02:03 PM BST

Pakistan win the toss and bowl

Jos Buttler says he would have done the same, though he doesn’t seem too disappointed.

01:36 PM BST

Good afternoon

Let’s try that one again. Wednesday’s first T20 international between England and Pakistan was a complete washout, but the prospects are a whole lot better today. Although there’s a chance of a shower between 3pm and 4pm – I’m not talking about England here – we will almost certainly get a full game.

That means a cocktail of anticipation and trepidation for England fans. Not because of the result, but because Jofra Archer should make his return to international cricket. His age – 29 – doesn’t look right, because he’s been frozen in time since the magical summer of 2019. But he has already said that another setback could be his last.

The Headingley washout means this game is effectively the first of a three-match series, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it warm-up to the T20 World Cup. It’s hard to rate England’s chances. On the one hand they’re the holders; on the other, their squad includes a number of players who endured a desperate 50-over World Cup last year.

England have made a few changes off the field, including the canny recruitment of Kieron Pollard as a consultant. They have also signed the psychologist David Young, who played a key part in the 2019 World Cup win, on loan from Manchester City.

“Having David back is really exciting,” said the England head coach Matthew Mott. “He’s previously been with the team and he’s already been a great ally in messages back to me, making sure my messages are clear. It’s always good to have someone who’s a little bit removed from the squad to make sure you’re landing your messages.

“In India all of us were guilty of being a bit insular and trying to problem solve ourselves. We’ve made a commitment to open up and be a bit more vulnerable as a group so that we’re helping each other. We feel like it’s time to get the mojo back and go out and really express ourselves as a team.”

The match starts at 2.30pm, with the toss at 2pm.

Jofra Archer and Sam Curran take time out during a net session at Edgbaston
Jofra Archer and Sam Curran take time out during a net session at Edgbaston - Bradley Collyer/PA

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