Jofra Archer continued his promising Test debut for England on a rain-shortened third day against Australia at Lord’s.
Here, PA assesses how he fared.
After failing to notice an edge off David Warner’s bat on day two, Archer registered his first Test scalp in his 11th over. His initial burst had strayed slightly too wide to cause consistent problems but when he did tighten up his line it paid off, jagging one back in to Cameron Bancroft and rapping him just under the thigh pad.
Archer’s appeal was good enough to persuade Aleem Dar but a tight DRS referral delayed the final verdict. Ball-tracking showed the bails being skimmed, but that was enough to get him off the mark.
Archer’s ability to generate serious heat is an open secret but he continues to deliver. His first ball to Steve Smith was the fastest of the day at 93.7mph and there was at least one more seriously rapid bouncer. The slowest ball he sent down was an outlier at a shade under 85mph, which still represents the top end of many seamers’ arsenal.
Scoring has proved tricky off the Sussex quick, with just 18 runs from his 13 overs so far. Six of those have been maidens and he has already sent down 38 dot balls. He might ultimately reflect that he can risk a few more attacking shots by trying more aggressive lines but his readiness to keep batsmen quiet is a handy habit to have.
Former Australia captain Steve Waugh assessed Archer’s contribution over the first two days and liked what he saw. “He’s very impressive. He’s got a pretty unusual action but he’s very relaxed but generates a lot of pace seemingly out of nowhere,” he said.
“He’s a guy that will take a bit of getting used to for batsmen, because he’s different and quick through the air. We certainly respect him.”
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Stuart Broad still believes England can overcome Australia and the weather to win the second Ashes Test at Lord’s but accepts time is running out.
Just 24.1 overs were possible on Friday, meaning a total of five sessions have been lost to rain in the first three days, rendering a draw the likeliest result.
England had most reason to feel aggrieved by the early finish after picking up three wickets for 50 runs before the downpour began, one each for Broad and Chris Woakes and a first at Test level for debutant Jofra Archer.
Having lost the series opener at Edgbaston, the hosts will also be more eager to force matters when play resumes with Australia 178 runs behind on 80 for four.
And Broad has already started plotting how they might engineer a result.
“We’d have liked to continue because we put ourselves in a good position. It’s a real shame,” he said.
“But we feel pretty positive. We’d need to bowl Australia out by lunch tomorrow. Our bowling unit’s aim is to get the next six wickets by lunch and then ideally bat until an hour, or half-an-hour, before lunch on day five and try to force a result that way.
“This pitch has got 10 good balls in it in each day. There’s 98 overs for the next two days, which for both teams has been enough to bowl each other out.”
Former Australia captain Steve Waugh, travelling with the team in a mentoring role, was also keeping hopes of a result alive.
“From our point of view we need to score some runs. We’re still 178 behind, so that’s our first target,” he said.
“If we can get there and get some more runs after that we believe we’ve a chance. Both sides will be confident that they can force a victory, but there is a lot of work to be done.”
Broad was impressed with his latest new ball partner, with Archer showing pace and control in a seven-over spell that cost just eight runs and brought the wicket of Cameron Bancroft, trapped lbw.
“He’s got all the attributes and he’s already been a successful international cricketer, having been involved in a World Cup win,” said the 122-Test veteran.
“In our minds, because he’s been involved with the World Cup and he’s been talked about so much in the last six months, we think he’s an experienced, older, knows-it-all cricketer.
“He’s still learning his trade a little bit, but he’s doing it with great success. There will be times when he blows teams away.”
With James Anderson out injured, Broad is the senior bowler in the side and he has performed his new-ball duties admirably by dismissing the dangerous David Warner cheaply three times in a row.
He has had no such luck with Steve Smith, though, and it is the latter who once again holds the key for Australia. After his match-winning twin centuries in the first Test he is ready to resume on 13 in the morning, knowing another epic could end England’s prospects.
Smith’s elaborate sequences of tics, routines and flourishes at the crease have become social media fodder over the past couple of weeks and Broad went as far as suggesting the batsman had begun to influence the on-field decision-making.
“He is quite fidgety. I think he might have even done (umpire) Aleem Dar on Travis Head’s lbw because he threw his arm out as if to say, ‘That’s going down leg side’,” offered Broad.
“I think Aleem was going to give it and maybe saw Steve’s hand go. He explains every bit of cricket on the field with his movements after it’s happened.”
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West Indies have roped in Brian Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan to help the team’s batsmen prepare for the upcoming two-Test series against India at home.
The two former West Indies batsmen will be a part of the team’s pre-series camp in Antigua ahead of the first Test against India which gets underway on August 22.
The hosts have called up two uncapped players in all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall and batsman Shamarh Brooks while another batsman in John Campbell has played just three Tests so far in his career.
Cricket Windies director of cricket Jimmy Adams believes the presence of Lara and Sarwan for the pre-series camp will immensely benefit the slightly inexperienced line up.
“We have some good young batsmen in the team who we believe will form the future of West Indies cricket,” Adams stated.
“We saw some very good signs of development earlier this year in the Test matches when we played so very well to beat England and we want to see them grow and become outstanding players for the West Indies.
Former captains Brian Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan to work with WI batsmen ahead of 1st Test match vs India Test Series in Antigua 🌴🏏🇦🇬https://t.co/NzaWh5TCSo— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) August 16, 2019
“We have taken the step to have Brian and Ronnie [Sarwan] work with these players, who have demonstrated a will to learn and succeed. We know they still have the passion and love for West Indies cricket and are eager to assist and share their information with the present generation.”
Lara is the all-time leading run-scorer for West Indies in the Test format with 11,912 runs in 130 matches and registered 34 tons along the way. Sarwan, meanwhile, has nearly 6,000 runs to his name in 87 Tests and slammed 15 centuries in the format.
India has far clinched both the T20 and ODI series in the Caribbean without tasting a single loss and the hosts will be hoping to turn the tide around in the upcoming Test clashes.