Jofra Archer warmed up for likely selection in England’s second Ashes test by destroying a second-string team on Tuesday, taking six wickets for just 27 runs as well as smashing a century with the bat.
Appearing for Sussex’s second XI against Gloucestershire on his comeback from a side strain, the speed sensation sent a warning to an Australia team who swept England in the first Test of the Ashes series.
Archer, a hero of England’s Cricket World Cup triumph, will likely be called up as a replacement for James Anderson, who injured his calf after bowling just four overs in the Edgbaston Test.
Devastating with the ball as he took his six wickets in just 12.1 overs, the 24-year-old hit 108 runs from just 99 balls including 12 fours and four sixes.
Archer’s victims were largely inexperienced, with the visiting side included 10 players aged 20 or under.
Many looked as though they would much rather be anywhere else, with Gloucestershire bowled out for just 79.
Jofra Archer returned to red-ball cricket for the first time in 11 months, picked up 6 for 27, before hitting a 99-ball 108 for good measure 😎@mroller98 was out in Woodmancote in rural Sussex to take it all in: https://t.co/cTbrIEvIPH
📽️: @SussexCCC pic.twitter.com/RWsfkkTANy
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) August 7, 2019
Following the conclusion of the match, Sussex wicket-keeper Joe Billings said he had to adjust his position to deal with his team-mate's deliveries.
Billings said: "This wicket's a bit interesting actually. It's one of those new hybrid wickets.
"I've never played on one before and it had a bit of extra pace and carry in it, so I was a bit further back than normal and obviously with Jof's pace down the hill as well, I certainly was a bit further back than normal.
6-27 and 108...
Jofra had a good day today pic.twitter.com/pIr3N5fpZ7
— County Championship (@CountyChamp) August 6, 2019
"I think he's feeling fit and fresh. He certainly wanted to keep going out there, he wanted to keep bowling his overs as he's been told to do and I think he's happy with how it's going."
Archer’s performance will certainly give England a boost after their heavy first Test defeat to Australia, and Sussex coach Jason Gillespie has said the bowler is fully fit.
The Australian told Talksport: "I'll be completely honest and I might be biased as coach at Sussex but I was surprised he didn't play the first Test to be perfectly blunt. He should have played.
"All this stuff about his side, look, he's 100 per cent fit, he's fine and ready to go. Personally I think England missed a trick by not playing him but he'll certainly play at Lord's.
"For me, pick a guy when he's in form, going well so for me it's a no-brainer.
"He must play this second Test. He adds another dimension to this England bowling attack - he's got pace, bounce, movement off the seam, through the air."
Normally a right-handed bowler, footage has also emerged of Archer bowling in the nets with his left arm during England training.
Jofra Archer bowling - left-arm - in England training. pic.twitter.com/iUIjZOQf7S
— George Dobell (@GeorgeDobell1) July 30, 2019
Meanwhile, despite him being ruled out of the second Test,the ECB aren’t ruling out Anderson featuring again in the series, saying they will monitor the fitness of England’s record wicket taker "on an ongoing basis".
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