Crowd hero Archer happy to show he has more than just pace after Ashes six-for
Jofra Archer believes he demonstrated he is not just a one-trick pony after recording a six-wicket haul despite toning down the pace on the opening day of the third Ashes Test.
England’s man of the moment regularly exceeded 90mph on his Test debut at Lord’s last week, peaking at 96.1mph, and though there was no repeat of those speeds at Headingley, Archer compensated with probing lines and lengths.
He was rewarded with six for 45 – his best figures in a fledgling international career – inducing a collapse that saw Australia slip from 136 for two to 179 all out at the end of a rain-affected day, where only 52.1 overs were possible.
Archer said: “I don’t need to run in and bowl 90mph every spell to get wickets. It’s shown that today.
“The conditions were a little bit bowler friendly but you’ve still got to bowl the ball in the right areas to get the wickets.
“There will be times in Test matches you have to focus on hitting your length. There will be times to ramp it up as well but you don’t have to go into it every innings.
“This wasn’t a wicket where you had to run in and bowl 90mph. It was a bit softer on top, a bit of swing and nip. If you put it in the right areas you should get wickets.”
Archer sent down 44 overs at the ‘Home of Cricket’ last week and jokingly posted a GIF on Twitter of an old man struggling to get to his feet when referencing his workload following the conclusion of the Test.
After bowling another 17.1 overs on Thursday, Archer said: “I wasn’t too stiff, I surprised myself. I pulled up OK so I might have to delete that (tweet).”
Before Archer donned Test whites, he had a transformative impact on the World Cup campaign, finishing as England’s leading wicket-taker and bowling the super over in the final to spearhead his side’s victory.
His international career is not yet four months old but there is a sense his achievements are garnering him cult hero status among England fans.
He added: “The support is heartwarming, whenever I walk to my mark everyone cheers, when we get a wicket it’s that much more support. It’s nice to feel welcomed and appreciated.”
David Warner was one of Archer’s six scalps, the controversial left-hander’s exit starting the wobble that led to the tourists losing their last eight wickets for 43 runs.
Warner was given a torrid working over outside his off-stump by Stuart Broad and Archer after Joe Root had won the toss, but the Australian opener overcame a fraught start to post 61.
He was one of only three batsmen to reach double figures – Marnus Labuschagne top-scored with 74 while Tim Paine made 11 – and the Australia opener was quick to hail the performances of England’s new-ball bowlers.
He said: “That’s incredible Test bowling. Joe won the toss and looked upstairs and wanted to bowl and they used that very well. Our top order, we all got good balls. Two strangles, which happens.
“They put the ball in the right areas. As a left-hander, Broad is going to challenge your off stump a lot, try and create that drive and it’s the same with Jofra. I had a lot of luck, I played and missed quite a lot.
“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.”
Asked about the difficulty of facing Archer, Warner replied: “It has its challenges, you look at (Jasprit) Bumrah as well, they are all energy at the crease. Mitchell Johnson was the same, he had a slow run up then thunderbolts.
“These guys, it takes getting used to, it’s a rhythm thing.”