Ashes 2019: Archer "more ready than ever" to make Test debut for England

By Sports Desk August 12, 2019

Jofra Archer is as ready as ever to make his red-ball debut for England but has warned he cannot work miracles ahead of the second Ashes Test against Australia.

Archer looks set to earn his first Test cap on Wednesday, with the Sussex paceman likely to replace the injured James Anderson in the XI.

The 24-year-old featured as a substitute fielder as England lost by 251 runs in the first Test at Edgbaston but is now set to start at Lord’s as the hosts look to even up the five-match series.

Archer returned to Sussex last week to play for their second XI, taking 6-27 from 12.1 overs with the ball as Gloucestershire were skittled for just 79 on the opening day before following up his devastating spell by hitting a century, casting aside any doubts over whether he had fully recovered from a side strain.

"I'm probably more ready than I've ever been," Archer told a news conference on Monday.

"Don't expect any miracles, firstly. Hopefully I'm going to make my debut sooner rather than later, but I can only come in and do what I can. I can't work miracles. I'll try to, but I don't think that's how it will work out. I can only give my best.

"I believe in Test cricket you get a lot more opportunities to redeem yourself. In 50 overs, if you don't have a good 10 overs that's it, you have to wait until the next game. You have ample chances to do it in the red ball game.

"Test cricket is the same as first-class cricket. You know what you've got to do, know what your strengths are. You've just got to stick to them."

When asked how Australia planned to deal with Archer, coach Justin Langer suggested to the media his side must look to wear the Barbados-born bowler down.

Archer, however, responded by insisting he will not wilt under a heavy workload.

"I've bowled 50 overs in one game already for Sussex, so I'm usually the one bowling the most overs anyway," he said.

"I think Justin Langer's got another thing coming."

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    David Warner likened Jofra Archer to South Africa great Dale Steyn after he took 6-45 in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, but the England newcomer is not surprised by his instant impact in the longest format.

    In just his second five-day match, Archer ripped through Australia on a truncated first day in Leeds, taking five of the eight wickets to fall in the final session, including that of Warner (61) as the tourists were dismissed for 179 having been 136-2.

    Archer, who was born in Barbados but qualified to play for England in March, showed no sign of being overawed by international cricket when he starred in the World Cup triumph earlier this year and the Test stage does not appear too grand for the 24-year-old either.

    He returned match figures of 5-91 in his Test debut at Lord's - when his vicious 92.4mph struck Steve Smith on the neck and led to him missing the match at Headingley due to concussion - but his ability to get wickets on a more pedestrian track at Leeds was even more impressive.

    "It's a bit like how Dale Steyn with the new ball tried to just use the conditions and then sort of ramp it up when they need to. That was world-class bowling at its best," Warner said of Archer.

    It was the wicket of Warner - one of four Australian batsmen to nick behind - that turned a game that had been disrupted by rain and bad light after Joe Root had won the toss.

    Archer got nowhere near the 96.1mph he clocked at Leeds and the threat of the bouncer was only minimal, but the conscious reduction of pace proved productive.

    "This wasn't a short-ball wicket, it wasn't as hard as Lord's," Archer said. 

    "So it's just get it on the full line and length and it got results today. I don't need to run in and bowl 90mph every spell to get wickets. It's shown today."

    On the comparisons with Steyn, Archer added: "It's really flattering. Actually, Dale tweeted a few years ago when I first started for Sussex, it's nice that someone who has played so many Tests and taken so many wickets would even think about me."

    Whereas others may be taken aback by Archer's swift adaptation to Test cricket, the man himself thinks he is just doing what he always has.

    Asked whether he had been surprised by his impact, he replied: "No. It's the same thing. It's nice to play the Ashes in England at grounds you played at already and are familiar with.

    "Sussex has the same hill so to me it doesn't feel like I've done anything different."

  • Ashes 2019: Warner thanks Ponting for keeping him on track Ashes 2019: Warner thanks Ponting for keeping him on track

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    Warner ended a run of four consecutive single-figure scores in the Ashes with a battling 61 at Headingley, standing defiant alongside fellow half-centurion Marnus Labuschagne (74) as the tourists subsided to 179 all out.

    Jofra Archer starred once again for England, returning figures of 6-45 – including the pivotal wicket of Warner, who edged a lifter behind when the score was 136-2.

    Resistance was negligible from that point on as Archer and England made the most of helpful conditions on a gloomy Leeds evening, but Warner could at least reflect on a personal battle won.

    "It's been challenging but coming into it mentally I felt like I was in form. I've had three balls where I probably couldn't have done anything with them," he told a post-match news conference, having played and missed frequently against his series nemesis Stuart Broad. "I've worked my backside off in the nets as well.

    "Today was about trying to negate that good ball and not get out to it. I had a lot of luck, I played and missed quite a lot but I kept my bat nice and tight.

    "I was very pleased with the way I adjusted very well. I moved across a little bit more so my bat was covering that off stump."

    Warner and Labuschagne added 111 from 138 balls as England's discipline deserted them in the first hour of an elongated final session and there was no danger of the former's natural aggression being cast aside after a few holes with Ponting.

    "Going out on the golf course with Ricky was great, it's always good to have my mate around and just let your hair down," he said. "He was all about making sure I'm still backing my gameplan, looking to get forward and looking to hit the ball.

    "I know when I'm looking to hit the ball my defence takes care of itself and I'm compact. I was fortunate enough that it came off. Obviously, you get another good ball there but can't do anything about it."

    As he did when playing as a concussion substitute for Steve Smith at Lord's, Labuschagne raised his bat in the absence of Australia's talisman in their middle order.

    Warner feels his team-mate's time in the County Championship with Glamorgan this season is paying dividends.

    "I thought he was outstanding, his discipline was outstanding," Warner added. "Him coming over here and playing that stint of county cricket, scoring some runs and knowing where his off stump is, I know he has worked really hard on that.

    "He has a lot of fight in him. We talked our way through our innings out there, we rebounded a lot of positive comments and he kept telling me about being disciplined and making sure I’m holding my shape, which was great getting reassurance from a youngster."

  • Ashes 2019: Archer 'over the moon' after ripping through Australia Ashes 2019: Archer 'over the moon' after ripping through Australia

    England paceman Jofra Archer was "over the moon" after he skittled Australia out with a maiden five-wicket Test haul on a rain-affected day one of the third Ashes contest at Headingley.

    Archer took 6-45 - including five of eight wickets to fall in a dramatic final session - as the tourists collapsed from 136-2 to 179 all out after being asked to bat on a gloomy day in Leeds, where only 52.1 overs were bowled.

    The quick bowled with great skill under grey skies, tormenting Australia after making a huge impact on his Test debut at Lord's.

    Australia folded after third-wicket stand of 111 between David Warner (61) and Marnus Labuschagne (74), with Stuart Broad taking 2-32 before Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes took a wicket apiece.

    Archer reflected on a job well done less than a week after he rattled Steve Smith on the helmet with a bouncer, resulting in the prolific former Australia captain being ruled out of the third Test with concussion.

    He told Test Match Special: "Firstly, it means I get to rest. We've been in the field all day, it was stop start all day, which is really annoying. You start to bowl well and then you have to go off and start again. I'm over the moon to get six wickets but equally happy just to get off.

    "The ball just started swinging randomly from the over before the Warner wicket. It got a bit more overcast and then from then on the ball was really good.

    "We thought it was going to be a repeat of Lord's and losing the first day. But we got a large portion of the bad weather out of the way today."

    He added: "I didn't do too much differently from Lord's, the slope there just makes the balls a lot harder to play. It was a bit bowler-friendly today, at times it did go flat and the ball stopped swinging but it started again.

    "There were a few threes and no sweepers, I'll more than take 6-45 but I can be tidier in the future. It's been really good so far, from the moment I've put the badge on, it's been the happiest days of cricket so far and hopefully plenty more ahead.

    "They've got some good bowlers as well so we've got to bat really well tomorrow."

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