Jofra Archer will make his Test debut against Australia at Lord’s this week and has already been labelled as the new messiah, but how much can be expected of the fast bowler in his first five-day match? (Archer 5/2 – Top England Wicket Taker – 1st Inns).
Despite his heroics in the World Cup and previous white-ball prowess, the England selectors opted for the safe option at Edgbaston and paid the price, as James Anderson’s injury robbed them of a bowler.
The 251-run defeat saw the Three Lions get exactly what they deserved and hopefully those in charge will not be so conservative again and build their team around the Sussex paceman.
It was surprising he was left out at Birmingham because a first-class record of 131 wickets at an average of just 23.44 apiece suggests he knows exactly how to operate in the longer version of the sport.
The mind games have already started, with Aussie coach Justin Langer suggesting he might find it tough to come back for third and fourth spells during a day’s play, while Archer countered by saying he regularly bowls 40 overs in an innings for his county side.
However, the Barbados-born ace was quick to play down expectations ahead of his expected debut in north London.
“Don’t expect any miracles,” he told reporters. “Hopefully I’m going to make my debut sooner rather than later and I’ll come in and do what I can.
“I can’t work miracles – I’ll try to but I don’t think that’s how it might pan out. I’ll try my best and I can only give my best.”
One miracle the England team would like to see is the removal of Baggy Greens superstar batsman Steve Smith who, like in the previous Ashes series Down Under, is proving the difference between the sides (Smith 7/5, David Warner 7/2 – Top Australia Batsman – 1st Inns).
His redemption from a ball-tampering ban seems complete after a century in each innings last time out and it is clear he is the key to the match.
There is no reason why Joe Root’s men should not bounce back in the second Test and they are 10/3 to win, with Australia on offer at 11/4 and the draw 8/11, but they will need Archer to get straight down to the business of bowling 90+ mph.