Is Jofra Archer the man to help England beat Australia and level Ashes series?

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13 August 2019, 18:49

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Archer will replace Jimmy Anderson in Joe Root’s side as England look to bounce back from their disappointing defeat in the first Test.World Cup hero Archer has recovered from a side strain, with the 24-year-old insisting he’s ready to save England.“I’m probably more ready than I’ve ever been,” Archer said.“I don’t think Justin Langer has seen me play first-class cricket. I usually bowl 40 overs every game. I think he has another thing coming.”And Express Sport’s writers have given their verdict ahead of the second Test.

Gideon BrooksIn his short career to date the answer to questions about whether Jofra Archer could live up to the hype has always appeared to be an emphatic ‘yes’.Age group cricket, county cricket with Sussex, IPL and Big Bash? Yes. England and the World Cup? Got that. Super Over in World Cup Final? No problem.While there can be little doubt that a Test debut with the Ashes on the line against a side containing the best batsman in the world in Steve Smith, is just about the biggest ask of his short career to date, history would suggest he will emerge colours flying.The trouble with equally emphatic statement regarding Archer is that the evidence remains limited.A six-wicket haul against Gloucestershire 2nd XI last week was evidence of his fitness following a side strain which dogged him in the World Cup and nothing much more given each and every fast bowler in either squad would have run through them in similar fashion.More clues are sparse with his last red-ball cricket over 11 months ago for all that his overall record in is decent with 131 first class victims at 23.44.England will be gambling on his extra pace upsetting the rhythm Australia established when Steve Smith was going well at Edgbaston.And while they are not boiling it down solely to a Smith v Archer shoot out, if they can eke out the former Australia captain they feel the rest may topple over that bit easier.Coach Justin Langer suggested it would be interesting when he gets into his third and fourth spells, yet Joe Root will look to counter that by using him in short, sharp bursts when the situation looks favourable. It will be an interesting battle.At the centre of it is Archer who maintains that he prefers and will be better suited to red-ball cricket than white.It has proved expensive to back against him so far in his career and it may do so again. If he doesn’t come off the Ashes may be all but gone before they head north to Headingley.

Lewis WinterJofra Archer could provide the spark that England need to draw level in the Ashes even if the first day of his Test career is washed out, with rain expected throughout Wednesday at Lord’s.The Sussex seamer showed everyone what he can do with the white ball during England’s victorious World Cup campaign.However, Archer himself and those who know him well believe he is at his best with a red ball in hand.He has the confidence to match the ability and how Steve Smith plays him will be fascinating.England ran out of ideas of how to get Smith out at Edgbaston so a lot of expectation is on Archer’s shoulders.But the 24-year-old has got everything in his locker to be able to trouble the former Aussie skipper.Matt AthertonYes. Jofra is the man.While England’s bowling attack played reasonably well at Edgbaston, we missed something a little bit different. Archer’s pace is what we lacked, and it’ll go a long way to finally dismissing Smith for anything under 140.It’s still a little bit beyond me why Archer didn’t play in the first Test. Even if he was 80% fit - although there are reports he was 100% fit - he should’ve been in that team. Especially if they were willing to let an 80% fit Jimmy Anderson play, which given his age, was always going to end horribly.But, now that Archer is where he belongs, England have a real chance of winning the second Test. Our record at Lord’s is surprisingly poor, but I’m still backing England to get the win.

Adam PowersWe saw at Edgbaston just how tough Steve Smith is to get out. His temperament is so strong that it almost feels like he decides how long he wants to bat.In Jofra Archer, he is coming up against a new entity in red-ball cricket but I think it's too bold a statement to say the Sussex seamer will have his number.To the finest Test batsmen, an bracket which Smith tops at the moment, an extra few miles per hour in pace is not that unsettling.If Archer can combine swing with that speed on the Test stage then England may be onto something, but I feel it's important not too much expectancy is put on Archer's shoulders in the infancy of his Test career - not that it'll bother him.

Matthew CooperThe battle between Jofra Archer and Steve Smith should be fascinating. The two were teammates with the Rajasthan Royals at the most recent IPL and will undoubtedly have spent plenty of time facing each other in the nets.Smith will know almost every trick in his arsenal but Archer will also know that all he needs is to force one false shot from the former Australian captain to get his man.Smith looked incredibly comfortable at Edgbaston, hanging deep in his crease and waiting for England’s bowlers to offer up a bad ball. However, he cannot do that against Archer.None of the seamers in England’s attack in the first Test are as quick as Archer, nor do they have a near-perfect yorker. If Smith opts to camp in his crease against Archer, then the 24-year-old will be able to test him with either a vicious short ball or a yorker.Smith is, of course, good enough to adapt to the threat that Archer poses but, at the very least, Australia’s star batsman will have different questions to answer at Lord’s.Dating all the way back to the previous Ashes series Down Under, a lot has been made of Australia’s bowling attack having the pace advantage over England. Although the second Test could see the return of Australia’s express pace trio, with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood both in the running to rejoin Pat Cummins, England now have their own speedster in the form of Archer.Archer has been excellent in red-ball cricket for Sussex ever since making his debut in 2016 and showed at the World Cup that he is not fazed by the step-up to international cricket. He will surely be a success in the Test arena but whether he can have the kind of impact England need remains to be seen.The 24-year-old showed in the World Cup semi-final against Australia just what he could do, drawing blood from wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey with a vicious bouncer and pinning Aaron Finch LBW with a beautiful inswinger. Not only does he have the pace and aggression to intimidate batsman, he has the skills to utilise the swinging Dukes ball to its fullest.Most importantly though, Archer has that intangible X-factor which does not come around often and that is something which England have been sorely lacking. He certainly has the potential to turn this series on its head.

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