Ashes 2019: Archer 'flattered' by Steyn comparison but not surprised by explosive Test start

By Sports Desk August 22, 2019

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."

Related items

  • Du Plessis not focusing on South Africa future and urges Proteas to show fresh mindset Du Plessis not focusing on South Africa future and urges Proteas to show fresh mindset

    Faf du Plessis avoided questions over his South Africa future and urged his side to stay fully focused on winning the final Test against England.

    South Africa are 2-1 down heading into the fourth and final contest in Johannesburg, with Du Plessis having already been replaced as ODI captain by Quinton de Kock ahead of the one-day and Twenty20 matches against 50-over world champions England.

    Du Plessis has also hinted the match at the Wanderers could prove to be his last in red-ball cricket on home soil, revealing he may quit after facing West Indies in July and August.

    However, Du Plessis did not entertain queries over his plans, instead focusing on the Proteas' chances of salvaging a draw from the series.

    "I'd like to, for my own personal reasons, have my focus specifically on this Test match," Du Plessis told reporters.

    "I know there has been a lot spoken about all the other things and too much noise away from Test cricket and the Test team. I would like to speak about what is in front of us.

    "This is about this Test match for me. I have not changed communication to you guys in one instant.

    "I've said the same thing but the question keeps coming up. I am still committed to playing for South Africa. That hasn't changed. It's normal business as usual."

    Du Plessis does not believe South Africa can dedicate any more practice to improving technically, but rather asked his team to display a new mindset.

    "When you are deep in the series already, the extra time in the nets is not going to make that much difference," Du Plessis said.

    "The challenge is how mentally strong we are. There's not enough time to change techniques. The secret weapon lies in how strong we can be emotionally and mentally.

    "If you are mentally off it, teams that are on top of you just keep running with that momentum. But we know England are not going to say, 'here you go guys here's five or six wickets in this next session, let's play now', we have to earn it."

  • Root: Beating Proteas would be my finest hour as captain Root: Beating Proteas would be my finest hour as captain

    Joe Root would rank a series win over South Africa as his greatest achievement as England Test captain and believes the "sky is the limit" for his young side.

    England head into the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers - which starts on Friday - with a 2-1 lead, having already extended their unbeaten run in away Test series against the Proteas to four.

    The tourists have been hit hard by both illness and injuries in South Africa, with James Anderson, Jack Leach and Rory Burns having all returned to England, while paceman Jofra Archer missed the last two Tests with an elbow issue.

    Given the circumstances, Root says beating the Proteas in their own backyard would probably go down as his most satisfying accomplishment since taking over as skipper almost three years ago.

    "It's been a tour that has thrown everything at us," Root told reporters. "But the whole squad, the players and the coaching staff, have worked tirelessly to make sure we stayed calm and as in control as we could.

    "When we've had our opportunities to bounce back, we've really taken them. It's been really pleasing in many ways.

    "We're a very young side at the start of something and we've seen some very promising performances. To win three Tests in a row would be a very big achievement for this group.

    "A series win here probably would be my proudest achievement as captain, because of the different things we've had to manage throughout this tour.

    "We've had injuries and senior players having to fly home and a lot of illness to deal with and we have adapted to very different conditions.

    "For a young group of players that has been very pleasing and a sign we're doing the right things. If we can harness that and keep looking to improve then I do think the sky's the limit for this team.

    "But we're very much at the start of something here and we're not perfect by any means. We have to keep that attitude and keep driving that forward for a long period of time if we want to get to number one in the world."

    Mark Wood came into the side for the third Test and it remains to be seen if he will be able to play back-to-back matches with Archer pushing for a recall.

    "It would be nice to see how Archer and Wood go together," Root said.

    "It would be a relentless barrage of pace. It would be great to have that extra bit of pace and firepower, but ultimately we've got to hit the right areas as we have done in the last couple of games."

  • Windies U-19 success due to youth investment claims CWI boss Skerritt Windies U-19 success due to youth investment claims CWI boss Skerritt

    Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt has insisted the strong showing of the U-19 team at the ongoing ICC U-19 World Cup is due to a policy of deliberate investment in youth cricket.

    The U-19 Windies, who won the title in 2016, are off to a strong start at the current edition of the tournament after notching wins over Australia, England, and Nigeria.  The team’s latest win, a dominant 246 runs win over their African opponents, ensured that the Windies were top of group B.

    According to the CWI president, the team’s strong showing, which has taken many by surprise, is no accident.

    “This administration promised that we would invest more seriously and in a more focussed and strategic way on our youth cricket and this Under-19 team is an example of what we set about to do immediately – to give them the best possible preparation going into this World Cup,” Skerritt said recently.

    “They have achieved already way beyond the expectations of most people.  They beat Australia, they beat England. We are going to hope and pray that they continue on the path of improvement and performing at their best and whatever the end result of this World Cup is for them they would have made the Caribbean people extremely proud.”

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.