Archer makes early breakthrough before rain returns in third Test at Headingley

Australia were 12 for one off four overs when the players were forced off.

By Press Association Published: 22 August 2019 - 12.03pm



Joe Root

Jofra Archer struck with the final ball of a brief, rain-interrupted session on the first morning of the third Ashes Test.

Play at Headingley was delayed by 70 minutes after showers and dark clouds engulfed the ground, with England captain Joe Root opting to take advantage of murky conditions by bowling first.

As it was only four overs were possible before the bad weather returned but Archer, fresh from last week’s scintillating debut at Lord’s, showed off perfect timing to take Marcus Harris’ wicket just before the teams exited with Australia 12 for one.

The successful delivery was far from the blood-curdling, bone-crunching bouncers that Archer routinely unleashed to such great effect at the home of cricket but it was a magnificent piece of seam bowling.

Clocking in a shade over 87mph, the ball demanded a shot as it angled in at Harris’ off stump, rose awkwardly off a length and kissed the outside edge on its way through to Jonny Bairstow.

Harris, recalled this morning in place of Cameron Bancroft, walked off with just eight runs to his name and with the rest of the players following him a few seconds later as rain blew across the ground.

Root’s decision to take the field had looked a sound one in the short window of cricket, Stuart Broad bowling a pair of fine maidens as he continued to dominate Australia’s out-of-form opener David Warner.

England v Australia at Headingley
Rain limited the amount of cricket on the first morning of the third Test (Tim Goode/PA)

Warner averaged just 4.5 in the first two Tests, dismissed three times by Broad, and the pattern continued as the veteran England paceman located just enough swing to have the left-hander playing and missing four times in two overs.

Australia, 1-0 ahead in the series, made two further changes – James Pattinson returning for Peter Siddle and Marnus Labuschagne continuing to stand-in for Steve Smith, who was ruled out of the game due to his Archer-induced concussion.

England named an unchanged XI after Jason Roy passed a concussion test of his own in the morning.