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Stuart Broad on Jofra Archer: ‘There’ll be times when he blows teams away’

by Wisden Staff 3-minute read

Only 24.1 overs of play was possible at Lord’s on day three of the second Ashes Test, but it was enough for Jofra Archer to claim a memorable first Test wicket.

Archer had to wait while Cameron Bancroft reviewed the decision, but DRS confirmed the on-field call: the ball was nipping in just enough to the right-hander to clip the bails, and the bowler’s celebration could continue.

Remembering his own debut wicket at the SSC in Colombo back in late 2007 – “I had to wait a little bit longer than Jofra … Hawk-Eye suggested it was the flattest wicket in the world and it certainly felt like that on my debut” – pacer Stuart Broad was impressed with what he saw of Archer, especially his ability to join the England bowling group in readjusting their lengths to suit the conditions.

Archer’s first ball to Steve Smith was a rocket at 93.4mph, and he produced one of the fastest spells by an England bowler in recent times. However, Broad insisted that he wasn’t as “express pace” as he could be, and the debutant’s success was more down to the “nagging line” he persisted with after the England bowlers quickly understood that a fuller length would work better for them to bring the stumps into play.

“It was a bit of the learner from this morning [for Archer], maybe a yard too short – for all of us, until we made a conscious effort to get it fuller. And we got instant rewards, bringing the stumps into play for Bancroft, and [Chris Woakes’] full-of-a-length bringing the edge [to dismiss Usman Khawaja],” said Broad, who himself got one to move back into Travis Head to trap him in front. “That was about getting used to the slope in red-ball cricket in Lord’s.

“He showed great control. He bowls a nice nagging length. I don’t think there are any doubts within the group, within the media, that he has the attributes to be a Test cricketer. There’s going to be times when he blows teams away.

“These conditions at Lord’s have been a bit favourable to the bowler on day one and day two, but that’s not taking away anything from the attributes he brings. You feel even on day four and day five pitches with his height and bounce, he’s going to bring stumps into play,” the senior bowler added in his praise of Archer.

With all of the first day lost to rain as well, a draw seems a likely possibility for the game. Broad, though, was optimistic of getting a result, especially if his side are able to get the next six Australian wickets before lunch on day four.

“There’s 98 overs for the next two days,” he pointed out, “which for both teams has been enough to bowl each other out! There’s certainly hope for both sides. There could be a interesting, intriguing game.”

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