England v Australia - 2nd Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Five
England v Australia - 2nd Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Five

England warned over Ashes ‘abuse’

Former West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding says England is in danger of limiting the threat posed by fast bowling sensation Jofra Archer if it continues to over-bowl him like it did in the Second Test.

On debut, Archer sent down 44 of the hosts' 142 overs as he finished with match figures of 5/91. His tally of overs was more than any other England bowler and only spinner Jack Leach bowled more than him in the second innings.

Remarkably, Archer was able to keep his frightening pace up throughout the entirety of the match. His fourth spell in the first innings where he knocked out Steve Smith with a vicious bouncer to the neck was actually his quickest of the contest, bowling the fastest over ever recorded by an Englishman.

Archer boasted before the match at Lord's he doesn't mind taking on a heavy workload, often bowling up to 50 overs in county cricket, but Holding said the 24-year-old is in danger of losing his X-factor if captain Joe Root becomes too fond of his shiny new toy.

Holding said over-bowling pacemen, especially those who are lightning quick, is tantamount to "abuse" and implored the Poms not to get too excited with the hottest commodity in world cricket.

"Archer bowled a third of all the overs bowled. That's a spinner's quota," Holding told iNews. "If you keep bowling him like this you will lose the 96mph (155km/h) delivery. He'll still bowl fast, 90mph (145km/h), but do you want to lose the express pace?

"It is not just about this match or the next, but next year and the one after that.

"England need to be very careful with Archer. He is obviously very fit … like me, he is tall, not big and muscular. He relies on rhythm and looks very relaxed running in.

"All that is in his favour but it is not sustainable for England to use him like this in every match."

 

Archer's ferocious spell on day four turned the game on its head and fired a warning shot to the Aussies that he's every bit as good as pundits were predicting before he was unleashed in the five-day format, having qualified to play for England shortly before the World Cup after being born and raised in Barbados.

As Australia took to the crease needing to bat out the rest of day five to secure a draw at Lord's after Joe Root declared, Archer looked like he might win England the game all on his own, taking the first three wickets.

He dismissed David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Cameron Bancroft to leave the tourists reeling at 3/47 before Travis Head (42 not out) and Marnus Labuschagne (59) combined for a match-saving partnership that allowed Australia to escape with a draw.

Root said the Aussie batsmen now have something different to think about as they prepare to negate the newest weapon in England's bowling arsenal and while they have plenty to worry about heading into the third Test at Leeds starting tonight, spare a thought for wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

The English gloveman not only has to deal with his hands copping a pounding from Archer's express pace, but also the late swing he generates after the ball has passed the bat with his unique seam position.

"Jofra Archer is the quickest bowler I have kept wicket to in my career. He hits the gloves hard and the hands take a pounding," Bairstow wrote in his column for The Telegraph.

"I wore two inners under my keeping gloves for the first time at Lord's to keep for Jofra and they were needed. They give a little bit of padding. Not much, though, because the hands get a bit sore.

"With Jofra because he has such an upright seam it swings late after it has passed the batsman - and at his pace that means you have to be ready to go quickly. I just try to make sure my head is over the top of the ball as long as possible because that way you are able to track its trajectory until it nestles in the gloves.

"If it does swing you can go with the movement if your head is over the ball. If your hands are away from your body it is harder to track because everything is out of sync and you are more likely to make a mistake."


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