After his World Cup exploits much was expected from Jofra Archer on his Test debut, he didn’t disappoint but can he last?
Is there anyone out there still unhappy that Archer was brought into the England set up? It’s just like Pietersen in 2005, it’s a no brainer. The only upset person is probably Anderson who is seeing his test career end – thus his blind panic move to declare himself fit for the first test.
Fortunately this is probably Archer’s only similarity to Pietersen, his ability to change a game England’s way. The smug – “that’s the way I play” – attitude and ability to piss off team-mates is hopefully missing.
England needed to stop Smith. They found the way, just wasn’t quite what they probably imagined. Yes, they knew there would be bouncers that would make take Smith out of his comfort zone a bit but did anyone see him being laid low like that? I mean it wasn’t as if he was new to the crease when Archer felled him. He’d got 80 on the board, so he wasn’t stopped that much in the Aussie first inning – going onto make 92 when he surprisingly returned.
But it’s seen him out of the third test at Headingley. A moment which is akin to Glenn McGrath going over his ankle at Edgebaston in ’05. That injury lifted England more than anything, their great destroyer wasn’t there. Smith is their new destroyer. 92 has been his lowest total so far in this series, hell he’s only failed to get 50 twice in the last 11 innings against England.
Archer is such a unique talent. The short, loping run up. The lack of any noticeable difference between a slow ball and one coming down in the mid 90s. The height, getting bounce from balls that aren’t too short, so they’re at the player not bouncing high over the head and don’t need to be played or dodged.
But can he survive the workload?
England have a history of buggering up their bowlers. Thankfully I doubt anyone will tinker with his action but will they run him into the ground? Archer versus Smith was box office stuff but he bowled 44 overs in the match. More than any other England bowler. Eleven more than Broad, twice the number of Woakes and four times that of Stokes. In that second innings he nearly bowled as much as the other three pace men combined and at points near the end it showed as his pace dropped off.
He can’t go on like that. Yes he doesn’t have an action that puts the stresses and strains on his body in the way many a bowler have in the past but that workload is too much. He’s a thoroughbred, should be racing a mile on the flat not four and half over national fences.
Broad has lifted himself this series. Usually he’s good for one outstanding spell. An 8 for next to nothing run through the order. Here as senior man, he’s lifted himself. Stood up and led. A benefit of the Burnley Bumpkin’s absence? Should he have bowled more than 7 overs on that final afternoon? Give Archer a rest, especially with another Test starting just a few days later.
To Leeds. Can Archer get his length right there, it’s not so easy and can Roy buy a run?
Would have been interesting to see if England would have survived that final 48 overs…