Archer looks at home be­ing let loose in favourite for­mat

Pace­man is no­tice­ably more con­fi­dent in his role in T20 than Tests, and Eng­land cap­tain Mor­gan is reap­ing the re­wards

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Us Open - By Nick Hoult CHIEF CRICKET COR­RE­SPON­DENT

It has taken Jofra Archer only eight overs to pro­vide a re­minder of what an as­set he is to Eng­land in white-ball cricket. The two games against Aus­tralia have been Archer’s first for Eng­land in one-day cricket this year for rea­sons of in­jury and lim­its on swapping biobub­bles.

Let loose in his favourite for­mat, Archer has reached top pace im­me­di­ately, hit­ting 89mph with his first ball on Sun­day, 90mph with his sec­ond and a scorch­ing 95.8mph with his sev­enth. Paired with Mark Wood, Eng­land’s av­er­age pace in the pow­er­play was 88mph, drop­ping be­low 90 only be­cause Tom Curran bowled the fifth over.

It was only the sixth time Eng­land had taken three wick­ets in the first six overs of a Twenty20 since the last World Cup four years ago. Archer and Wood have emerged as Eng­land’s new-ball pair­ing for the World Cup in In­dia next year. If they can punch a hole through teams in the first four overs, then Eng­land can use Adil Rashid more ag­gres­sively in the mid­dle overs.

What was im­pres­sive about Archer on Sun­day was his line. In the three balls he bowled to David Warner, he cramped him for room, cul­mi­nat­ing in his dis­missal. “Oh jeez,” said Warner as the ball cut him in half. It is not about pace, it is about con­trol, and Archer rarely sprays the ball around, even in Test cricket dur­ing a long spell.

The pow­er­play won the game for Eng­land. Aus­tralia could not re­cover once they were three down and the way some of them played high pace, par­tic­u­larly Alex Carey, will have been noted for when the teams meet again tonight in the last T20 of the se­ries, when Eng­land will be with­out Sun­day’s man of the match, Jos But­tler, who has been al­lowed a break to see his fam­ily.

Eng­land will make a de­ci­sion on Eoin Mor­gan’s fit­ness to­day af­ter he dam­aged a fin­ger field­ing on Sun­day. With vice-cap­tain But­tler miss­ing, Moeen Ali will lead Eng­land if Mor­gan is not fit with Joe Denly com­ing into the side.

Archer re­lies on york­ers, changes of pace and seam move­ment, rather than swing. When he com­bines pace with hit­ting the seam, like on Sun­day, he is a match-win­ner.

He is no­tice­ably more com­fort­able in Twenty20 cricket. Eng­land are still work­ing out how to use him in Tests. Is he a bat­ter­ing ram or a


(prob­a­ble) JM Bairstow (Yorks), T Ban­ton (Som­er­set), DJ Malan (Yorks), EJG Mor­gan (Middx), SW Billings (Kent), MM Ali (Worcs), TK Curran (Sur­rey), CJ Jor­dan (Sus­sex), AU Rashid (Yorks), JC Archer (Sus­sex), MA Wood (Durham). (prob­a­ble) DA Warner, AJ Finch, SPD Smith, GJ Maxwell, MP Stoi­nis,

AT Carey, AC Agar, PJ Cum­mins, MA Starc, KW Richard­son, A Zampa.

Alex Wharf and Martin Sag­gers. David Millns.

Light cloud and gen­tle breeze, 21C.

Aus­tralia Um­pires Third um­pire Weather

pa­tient line-and-length bowler? In Tests this sum­mer there was no “Steve Smith spell” for ex­am­ple. But his pace was only a frac­tion lower in 2020 (85.59mph) com­pared to last sum­mer (86.49) and it is easy to for­get his best Test bowl­ing per­for­mance (six for 45) was against Aus­tralia at Head­in­g­ley, when he bowled line and length.

Archer looks more con­fi­dent in T20. It is where he made his name bowl­ing for Sus­sex, Ra­jasthan Roy­als and Ho­bart Hur­ri­canes. He en­joys the for­mat and likes play­ing for Mor­gan. He has his mates, Chris Jor­dan, Rashid and Moeen, with him and ap­pears hap­pier.

Archer took only eight wick­ets at 45 this sum­mer in Test cricket, and per­haps the el­bow in­jury has left some men­tal scar­ring.

Joe Root, the Test cap­tain, is also strug­gling to gauge when to ask him to “step on the gas” and when to hold back. In Twenty20, Archer can give it ev­ery­thing in the pow­er­play and then come back at the death with his vari­a­tions.

He has played only 40 first-class games and 11 of those have been Tests. Tonight will be his 98th T20 match in just four years since mak­ing his pro­fes­sional de­but. He feels at home, on top of his game and Eng­land are reap­ing the ben­e­fit.

Light­ning quick: Eng­land’s Jofra Archer has had the shack­les re­moved dur­ing a se­ries in which he has reg­u­larly bowled at 90mph-plus

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