Archer hits back from Manchester low point to lead attack
Jofra Archer endured his first real low at Old Trafford last week, but he showed that was just a blip with a six-wicket performance that ensures his debut summer will go down as one of the best by an England player.
Archer was the subject of criticism for the first time in the fourth Test when he was down on pace and his battle with Steve Smith proved to be a real let down after so much anticipation following their duel at Lord’s.
He was wicketless in the first innings in Manchester and clearly struggled with the wind and cold on day one.
He was sledged by gloating Australians when he batted and there was a danger his summer would fizzle out after the highs of the World Cup and his six-wicket haul at Headingley.
If he stays fit, England have a bowler who can dominate for a decade, but they are still getting to know Archer and working out what makes him tick. They have to put up with him being late to team meetings and doing things his own way, accepting that what he brings as a player is worth far more. Archer’s pace was back above 90 mph and he again bowled for long spells yesterday. His physical endurance has largely gone unnoticed amid the wickets and bouncers, but Archer has bowled 140 overs in the series, 20 fewer than Stuart Broad, who has played one Test more.
Broad looked spent yesterday and Archer had to lead the attack in his place. “It was a tough wicket to bowl on. It looks good, but tough to bowl on with not much assistance. We just had to be consistent and hit a good length,” Archer said.
The biggest challenge is not giving up when bowling to Smith. “It’s weird, you know. Every time he bats, I don’t know what it is, he literally cannot get out,” Archer said. “The ball just lands … if he
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