January 22, 2020 / 6:14 PM / a month ago

Archer closer to recall after impressing in nets

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - England paceman Jofra Archer will get one more day to prove his fitness for a place in the team for the final test against South Africa but he is staking a strong claim for a recall, assistant coach Graham Thorpe said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - England Nets - Seddon Park, Hamilton, New Zealand - November 27, 2019 England's Jofra Archer during nets REUTERS/Ross Setford/File Photo

An elbow injury kept the 24-year-old out of the last two tests, which England won to take a 2-1 lead in the series going into the final encounter starting at The Wanderers on Friday.

“Jofra had good rhythm and bowled nice and quick today,” Thorpe told reporters after Wednesday’s net session.

“That’s where we want Jof to be. He looks good, but he will have to come in again tomorrow and back it up.

“The elbow problem has been a big issue for him. You can’t force that, you have to wait for the player to be confident with it.”

Archer would likely thrive on a pacey pitch in Johannesburg and if he is fit that would pose a selection dilemma for coach Chris Silverwood and captain Joe Root.

Mark Wood and Chris Woakes are also in contention along with off-spinner Dom Bess, who took a maiden test five-wicket haul in the emphatic innings win in the third test at Port Elizabeth which finished on Monday.

“Mark Wood hasn’t played back-to-back test matches for a while but he bowled exceptionally well for us in Port Elizabeth. He bowled at high speeds of 90mph plus and gave us an X-factor. We’ll have to see how he is and I’m sure Woody will be really honest with us.

“Historically, it’s a pitch which has good carry and pace and generally starts softer then quickens up. It has that carry which bowlers, batters and spinners alike enjoy,” he added.

“It would be tough if Bess didn’t play this test. He has done himself no harm, though, in the way he has come into the set-up and the way he’s bowled.

“He’s progressed from the last time I saw him about six months ago and when you perform it gives you confidence. So we won’t rush straight into a decision. It will be nice to have all those options on the table,” said Thorpe.

Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ken Ferris

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