Anderson strikes as Pakistan lose Shan Masood

Southampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


James Anderson took a wicket with just his eighth ball of the match as he removed Pakistan's Shan Masood in the second Test at Southampton on Thursday.

By his own admission, Anderson -- England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker -- had not been at his best during England's three-wicket win in the first Test at his Old Trafford home ground last week.

And he came into this match having taken just six wickets in three Tests so far this season at an expensive average of over 41 apiece.

But England captain Joe Root said on the eve of the Test: "To question Jimmy's ability and his record -- do that at your own peril."

And in humid conditions conducive to Anderson's swing bowling, the 38-year-old paceman brought one back into Masood, fresh from his Test-best 156 last week, lbw for one.

The left-hander's exit saw Anderson move to within nine wickets of becoming the first paceman to take 600 in Tests.

Masood was so clearly out he did not bother to review the decision.

England lost the toss but Root said at the time: "It's muggy, we've got a very good swing bowling attack and we're looking to exploit that."

Pakistan should have been 7-2 but Abid Ali, on one, was reprieved when third slip Dom Sibley, going to his left, dropped an edge off Stuart Broad.

It appeared Sibley and second slip Rory Burns, who also went for the chance, were too close together in a cordon missing Ben Stokes.

- Fawad Alam returns -

Earlier, Pakistan's Fawad Alam was recalled for his first Test in over a decade.

Alam, 34, returned in the only change to the side with the 34-year-old batsman and left-arm spinner replacing leg-spinning all-rounder Shadab Khan.

Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who took eight wickets in the first Test, remained in the XI and Azhar said: "With the amount of grass on the wicket one spinner is enough and obviously we want to strengthen our batting as well."

A prolific run-scorer in Pakistan domestic cricket, Alam played the last of his three previous Tests, in which he averages over 41, against New Zealand in Dunedin, back in November 2009.

England, 1-0 up in a three-match series being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus, made two changes.

As expected, top-order batsman Zak Crawley returned in place of Stokes after it was announced the star all-rounder would miss the final two matches of this series for personal reasons after travelling to New Zealand to be with his ill father.

Crawley has been absent from England's last two Tests, when an extra seamer was included to compensate for pace bowler Stokes's quad injury.

Meanwhile fast bowler Jofra Archer was officially "rested", with England in the middle of a gruelling schedule of six Tests in seven weeks following their 2-1 series win at home to the West Indies last month.

Archer's place was taken by left-arm seamer Sam Curran, who has been on the winning side in all his previous eight home Tests and is also capable of scoring runs down the order.

"More than anything it was to lengthen our batting," said Root of Curran's recall.

"With Ben missing out, we wanted to make sure we have that depth there.

"His (Curran's) record in England is fantastic and he deserves the opportunity."