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Jofra Archer returns for England Lions, hits Zak Crawley on head; Ollie Pope makes century

Jofra Archer has not played for England since March 2021; paceman bowled nine overs for the Lions in Abu Dhabi as England manage his return from injury; watch England's three-Test series against Pakistan live on Sky Sports from 4.30am on Thursday, December 1

Jofra Archer (Pic: ECB)
Image: Jofra Archer made his long-awaited return to cricket, bowling nine overs across two spells - Pic ECB Images

Jofra Archer is a step closer to returning to full international cricket after featuring for the England Lions against the senior team in Abu Dhabi.

The Lions are playing England ahead of the Test side's tour of Pakistan, which is live on Sky Sports from December 1.

Archer has not played first-class cricket since March 2021 because of elbow and back injuries but stepped up his comeback with an encouraging display for the Lions.

The 27-year-old bowled nine overs and, while he did not take a wicket, he showed glimpses of his old self, hitting Zak Crawley on the helmet with a testing bouncer in the first over of the match.

He was also involved in the first wicket, running Crawley out in the 27th over.

Pic ECB Images
Image: Zak Crawley fell just short of a century - Pic ECB Images

England's senior team, without captain Ben Stokes, ended the day on 501-7 after 79 overs, with Crawley (96) missing out on a century.

Ollie Pope, who is leading the the side, hit 146 off 120 balls and Will Jacks impressed with a quickfire 84 from 48 balls.

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Liam Livingstone, who was part of England's T20 World Cup-winning side, made 36 from 23 balls in his first red-ball match since 2020.

Joe Root was dismissed for nine by Sussex off-spinner Jack Carson, while Ben Foakes ended the day on 48 not out. Ben Duckett (28) joined Crawley at the top of the order, while Keaton Jennings (40) was in at number five.

Dan Lawrence took two wickets in 10 overs, while Tom Abell, Sam Cook, and Sam Conners all claimed a wicket apiece.

Pic ECB Images
Image: Rehan Ahmed capped off a good day, taking a catch to dismiss Will Jacks after getting called up to England's squad for the Pakistan tour - Pic ECB Images

Archer is not in England's squad for the Pakistan tour, but England hope he will be fully fit in the new year.

One player who will be in Pakistan is Rehan Ahmed. The 18-year-old was called up on Wednesday as a late addition to the touring squad and could become England's youngest men's Test cricketer.

Watch England's three-Test series in Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket. Coverage of the opening game begins at 4.30am on Thursday, December 1 ahead of a 5am start in Rawalpindi.

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