Curran replaces Archer as England omit paceman for second Pakistan Test

By Sports Desk August 13, 2020

Sam Curran replaced Jofra Archer as one of two changes to England's line-up for the second Test against Pakistan.

With James Anderson's place in the side having all but been confirmed on Wednesday, it was Archer – struggling to replicate the form he showed in 2019 – who made way for Curran.

Ben Stokes was already a guaranteed absentee after he left the squad on Sunday to travel to New Zealand for family reasons, with Zak Crawley replacing the all-rounder.

In Stokes' absence, England captain Joe Root elected to give seamer Curran an opportunity to build on some impressive performances against West Indies while also adding extra depth to England's batting order.

"I think more than anything it was to lengthen our batting, with Ben missing out making sure we had that depth there," Root told BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.

"Also, Sam's record in England is fantastic and he deserves an opportunity. It gives Jofra a chance to rest up and be fully fit for the next game."

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first in sweltering conditions at the Rose Bowl, though Root believed England's swing bowlers could exploit the humid conditions.

"We would have batted first as well, but it's muggy and we've got a very good swing attack," Root said.

"We're looking forward to exploiting these conditions early and hopefully getting some wickets. Getting the first go at it isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially coming on the back of our bowling at Old Trafford."

There was just one change for Pakistan, with Fawad Alam earning his first Test appearance since 2009.

"He's been scoring lots of runs in first-class cricket. He's been patient for a long time," Pakistan captain Azhar Ali said.

"Seasoned character, seasoned player and waiting for this opportunity for a long time. He has all the potential."

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