David Warner likened Jofra Archer to South Africa great Dale Steyn after he took 6-45 in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, but the England newcomer is not surprised by his instant impact in the longest format.
In just his second five-day match, Archer ripped through Australia on a truncated first day in Leeds, taking five of the eight wickets to fall in the final session, including that of Warner (61) as the tourists were dismissed for 179 having been 136-2.
Archer, who was born in Barbados but qualified to play for England in March, showed no sign of being overawed by international cricket when he starred in the World Cup triumph earlier this year and the Test stage does not appear too grand for the 24-year-old either.
He returned match figures of 5-91 in his Test debut at Lord’s – when his vicious 92.4mph struck Steve Smith on the neck and led to him missing the match at Headingley due to concussion – but his ability to get wickets on a more pedestrian track at Leeds was even more impressive.
“It’s a bit like how Dale Steyn with the new ball tried to just use the conditions and then sort of ramp it up when they need to. That was world-class bowling at its best,” Warner said of Archer.
What a performance!
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 22, 2019
It was the wicket of Warner – one of four Australian batsmen to nick behind – that turned a game that had been disrupted by rain and bad light after Joe Root had won the toss.
Archer got nowhere near the 96.1mph he clocked at Leeds and the threat of the bouncer was only minimal, but the conscious reduction of pace proved productive.
“This wasn’t a short-ball wicket, it wasn’t as hard as Lord’s,” Archer said.
“So it’s just get it on the full line and length and it got results today. I don’t need to run in and bowl 90mph every spell to get wickets. It’s shown today.”
On the comparisons with Steyn, Archer added: “It’s really flattering. Actually, Dale tweeted a few years ago when I first started for Sussex, it’s nice that someone who has played so many Tests and taken so many wickets would even think about me.”
Australia are bowled out for 179!
— ICC (@ICC) August 22, 2019
Whereas others may be taken aback by Archer’s swift adaptation to Test cricket, the man himself thinks he is just doing what he always has.
Asked whether he had been surprised by his impact, he replied: “No. It’s the same thing. It’s nice to play the Ashes in England at grounds you played at already and are familiar with.
“Sussex has the same hill so to me it doesn’t feel like I’ve done anything different.”