Persistent rain meant that the first ODI was called off after only 19 overs Getty

Due to intermittent spells of rain, the first ODI between England and Pakistan was called off at The Oval on Wednesday (May 8). Pakistan were 80 for 2 after 19 overs when the heavens opened up not for the first time during the course of the game and eventually, the match was abandoned.

Even before the match commenced, there was a spell of rain and as a result, it was reduced to a 47-over-per-side contest. After the rain relented, England won the toss and asked the opposition to bat. As a hint of moisture had seeped in due to rain, Jofra Archer extracted seam movement and found extra bounce to trouble both Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman.

In fact, in his very first over, Archer beat Imam three times in a row. Eventually, his persistence reaped him the reward as in his second over, Zaman edged one that nipped away to Joe Root in the slip cordon, who juggled before pouching the catch. Archer continued to bowl with hostility and control to end his first spell with impressive figures of 1 for 6 from four overs.

Archer's spell capsulises the fact that he isn't just good at variations but he can also get it to move off the pitch. To illustrate the point, even on his first class debut for Sussex versus the touring Pakistan side in 2016, he had dislodged Mohammad Hafeez, Shan Masood and Azhar Ali with movement off the pitch. In this game, once Imam and Babar Azam paddled through Archer's burst, the duo started to rebuild. Azam, in particular, gave a glimpse of his ability with a fine cut stroke off Liam Plunkett in the 12th over. However, he didn't last long as in the same over he edged a cross-seamer from Plunkett behind the stumps. After Azam's dismissal, Imam and Haris Sohail kept the scorecard ticking over.

Unfortunately, the heavens opened up again and play had to be stopped. Even though the play resumed after a while, another spell of shower ensured the players walked back to the pavilion. During the brief period when players were out in the middle, there was a bit of action with Jos Buttler missing out an easy stumping, with Haris getting a reprieve.

The rain continued to play hide and seek for a few hours before the sun came out. However, by then, the outfield was quite muggy and the umpires decided to call off the game. The second ODI of the series will be played in Southampton on Saturday (May 11).

Brief scores: Pakistan 80/2 in 19 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 42*; Jofra Archer 1-6) vs England.