England opt to bat after winning toss against Pakistan in third Test

SOUTHAMPTON: England captain Joe Root opted to bat after winning the toss in the third and final Test against Pakistan at Southampton on Friday as the hosts added Jofra Archer back to their side.

England, 1-0 up in the series after a three-wicket win in the first Test at Old Trafford was followed by a weather-affected draw at Southampton, recalled fast bowler Archer in place of left-arm seamer Sam Curran.

Pakistan, looking to avoid their first series defeat against England in 10 years, were unchanged.

This match marked the last of six scheduled Tests in the English season, which have all been played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus outbreak, with England defeating the West Indies 2-1 last month.

England are now set to play all of their planned 18 internationals, across all formats this season, despite COVID-19.

Before the toss, England paceman Stuart Broad received a framed silver stump to commemorate taking 500 Test wickets, a feat he achieved in the preceding series against the West Indies, from outgoing England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves.

Meanwhile Graves received a framed signed shirt from the England squad to mark the end of his five-year term as chairman.

England also announced that Surrey wicketkeeper Ben Foakes and Sussex fast bowler Ollie Robinson had been released from the Test squad to play for their respective counties in first-class Bob Willis Trophy matches on Saturday.

The England team will wear black armbands on Friday as a mark of respect to uncapped squad member Dan Lawrence after the Essex batsman’s mother died earlier this month.

Teams

England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (capt), Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wkt), Chris Woakes, Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson

Pakistan: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali (capt), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wkt), Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah