Jofra Archer: The key questions

England paceman Jofra Archer excelled for Sussex’s Second XI on Tuesday in his attempts to prove his fitness ahead of the second Ashes Test.

The 24-year-old was left out of his country’s crushing first Test defeat to Australia at Edgbaston following injury struggles during the World Cup.

Here, PA’s Ed Elliot takes a closer look at Archer’s situation after he took six wickets and scored a century in the match against Gloucestershire seconds at the Blackstone Academy Ground.

What has been the problem?

Kent v Gloucestershire – Specsavers County Cricket Championships – Division Two – Day One – The Spitfire Ground
Jason Gillespie has no doubts about Archer’s fitness (PA)

Archer played through the pain barrier to help England win the World Cup. He has been suffering with a side strain and required painkillers during that competition to deal with a problem which he described as “pretty excruciating” and captain Joe Root termed “serious”. Sussex head coach Jason Gillespie has declared Archer “100 per cent fit” and expressed surprise at his first Test omission.

How did he perform on Tuesday?

Sussex 2nd XI v Gloucestershire 2nd XI – Second XI Championship – Blackstone Cricket Club Ground
Archer impressed on Tuesday (PA)

Pretty well. Against inexperienced opposition featuring 10 players aged 20 or under, including seven teenagers, Archer took six wickets for the loss of 27 runs. His figures, from 12.1 overs, included four maidens. While England’s selectors will be fully focused on his performance with the ball, he also impressed with the bat, hitting 108 off 99 balls during a lengthy innings which included 12 fours and four sixes.

Why is he important for England?

Sussex 2nd XI v Gloucestershire 2nd XI – Second XI Championship – Blackstone Cricket Club Ground
Archer gives England a different dimension (PA)

Barbados-born Archer has yet to play a Test match and only qualified to play for England in March. But he was England’s leading wicket-taker with 20 at the World Cup, a competition played in the one-day international format. With seamer James Anderson ruled out of the second Test by injury and spinner Moeen Ali out of form, the pace of Archer could provide a different dimension as England bid to bounce back from the disappointment of the series opener.

Will he be available at Lord’s?

Sussex 2nd XI v Gloucestershire 2nd XI – Second XI Championship – Blackstone Cricket Club Ground
Archer scored a century on Tuesday (PA)

On this evidence, almost certainly yes. There was nothing to suggest Archer has any lingering injury issues and fitness did not seem a problem as he delivered 73 balls and spent 104 minutes at the crease. He is set to continue playing in the three-day match on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the second Ashes Test, which runs from August 14 to 18 in London.

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