Thursday, 20 January 2022

Archer claims six wickets as England take charge of Ashes finale


LONDON: Jofra Archer took six wickets as England bowled Australia out for 225 to gain the upper hand on the second day of the fifth Ashes Test despite another Steve Smith masterclass.

Joe Root’s team are desperate to level the series at 2-2 to end their historic World Cup-winning season on a high but have been consistently dogged by the peerless Smith.

The former Australian skipper has now amassed 751 runs in just six innings — more than double the tally of the next highest runscorer on either side.

But he was forced to settle for his lowest score of the series — 80 — when Chris Woakes trapped him lbw in the evening session, leaving the sun-drenched Oval crowd dumbfounded.

Australia conceded a first-innings deficit of 69, paceman Archer finishing with figures of 6-62. Sam Curran took three wickets on his return to the side.

England openers Rory Burns and Joe Denly, dropped in the slips in the final over, survived a tricky four overs as the light faded to reach 9-0 by the close — an overall lead of 78.

Barbados-born Archer only made his Test debut last month but already has 22 wickets midway through his fourth Test.

“It was a tough wicket to bowl on to be honest,” said a tired Archer, who touched speeds of 90 miles per hour. “I didn’t feel there was much assistance.”

He said Smith was almost impossible to shift, even though he “didn’t look himself today”.

“It’s weird because every time he bats, I don’t know what it is,” he added.

“He literally cannot get out. The ball just lands, especially if he plays a bad shot, the ball just lands in no-man’s land for the whole series.”

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