England is set to roll the dice on a Test debutant in a bid to breathe life into its Ashes campaign against Australia at Lord’s this week.
Stung after a 251-run thrashing in the series opener at Edgbaston earlier this month, 24-year-old quick Jofra Archer is in line for his debut in the second Test, which starts on Wednesday evening (AEST), as England tries to replace injured spearhead Jimmy Anderson.
Barbados-born Archer played youth cricket for West Indies but has an English father and caught the eye in in Twenty20 competitions across the world, including the Big Bash League, and the county game.
Archer was originally ineligible to play cricket for England until 2022 but the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) relaxed its rules, allowing the fast bowler to feature in 2019 in the build-up to the ICC World Cup.
Only two bowlers took more wickets than Archer (20) at the World Cup and he also bowled the super over in England’s dramatic, unforgettable victory over New Zealand.
And he is now set for his Test bow, despite not having played a first-class fixture in 2019.
And even though Archer may not bowl long spells, he certainly has the pace, talent and ability to unsettle Australia’s batsmen.
Australia captain Tim Paine, who has played with Archer for Hobart Hurricanes, said his side were “lucky given guys have faced him, albeit in Big Bash cricket.”
“We know how good Jofra is. We know he bowls fast. We know he is very skilful. He is a great asset for them. It’s not every day a 6’5 or 6’6 West Indian turns up on your doorstep,” Paine is quoted as saying by Cricinfo.
Talk about Archer has dominated the build-up to the Test and Australian coach Justin Langer said he was “really curious” about how the paceman would perform and said his side’s focus would be to “get him back into his second or third and fourth spells”.
But Archer has insisted he is ready and that “Justin Langer has another thing coming” as England tries to avoid successive Test defeats on home soil for the first time since 2008.
Key to that will be dismissing Steve Smith early, with the 30-year-old fresh off scores of 144 and 142 in a man-of-the-match showing in Birmingham.
— Peter Siddle (@petersiddle403) August 13, 2019
What will our team look like?
There will be at least one change to Australia’s team.
James Pattinson was not included in a 12-man squad named on Tuesday.
He could be replaced by either Mitchell Starc or Josh Hazlewood, who both sat on the sidelines at Edgbaston.
Both played in a tour match against Worcestershire last week, Hazlewood taking three wickets to Starc’s two, but the left-armer’s variety might just swing this one in his favour.
Australia squad: Tim Paine (captain), David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
What do the stats suggest?
Australia has a great record at Lord’s, winning 15 of 36 Ashes Tests at the venue compared to England’s seven.
In fact, England did not beat Australia at Lord’s from 1934 to 2009, but it has won two of the three Tests since.
Will it rain?
Yes. Rain is forecast on day one, three and four, and unfortunately seems at its worst on the first day, particularly in the opening session.
Forecasters are predicting “light rain” on Friday and Saturday, meaning a result may be hard to come by.
Any word on the pitch?
Good judges are expecting a faster pitch than what was dished up at Edgbaston.
That will mean less turn for the spinners, meaning a repeat of Nathan Lyon’s day-five heroics seem unlikely.
How do I follow the Test?
Television coverage begins at 7.30pm (AEST) on each night of play and will be shared by the Nine Network’s main channel and GEM.
You can also stream the cricket on 9Now and watch on any device.
ABC Radio will broadcast audio coverage and The New Daily will provide a wrap of each day’s play in your morning newsletter.