Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

England paceman Jofra Archer will 'learn a huge amount' from his tough time in New Zealand

Captain Root backs fast bowler despite his struggles in series won by Black Caps after second Test ends in draw

England's Jofra Archer cannot bare to look after Joe Denly drops an absolute sitter off his bowling in the second Test against New Zealand in Hamilton. AFP
England's Jofra Archer cannot bare to look after Joe Denly drops an absolute sitter off his bowling in the second Test against New Zealand in Hamilton. AFP

England captain Joe Root is convinced Jofra Archer's career remains on an upward trajectory despite a challenging time for the paceman in the two-Test series against New Zealand.

Archer burst on to the international scene with a series of remarkable performances in the World Cup and Ashes but took a combined two for 209 in this series as he struggled to adjust to the flat surfaces and Kookaburra ball.

It was the first notable setback for the fast bowler, who should have had his third scalp of the trip on the final day of the second Test at Hamilton, only for Joe Denly to drop the simplest of chances.

That reprieved New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who, along with veteran batsman Ross Taylor, recorded centuries to ensure a draw at Seddon Park as the Black Caps claimed a 1-0 series victory.

Nevertheless, the delivery to Williamson, changing his action by withdrawing his front arm and bowling a knuckle ball, was enough to encourage Root that Archer has a prominent role in England's future.

Root said: "I think he'll learn a huge amount from this, I really do. He's obviously an extremely exciting talent and he's got so much to offer Test cricket and this team and I'm sure it won't be long till we see him tear it up again.

"He's found out there are a number of ways you've got to be able to operate and you've got to show real resilience sometimes when it does get quite flat and keep putting in time and time again, which he did.

"He showed a great amount of variety in trying to take wickets and produce an opportunity; bowling with no front arm, bowling his knuckle balls, a couple of leg-cutters and a quick bouncer every now and again to change the pace.

"It shows he's got all the skills that are there, it's now just putting it all together. I'm sure he'll learn very quickly and I'm pretty confident we'll get the best out of him soon."

Denly fluffing his lines after Williamson had tamely prodded forward to midwicket on 62 was being described as one of the worst drops in history in some quarters.

Root said with a smile: "I'm sure Joe will not hear the end of that one for a while. I think it was just a one-off goober that doesn't happen very often."

Williamson admitted he was grateful for Denly's butter fingers. "It was fairly simple," he said. "No doubt Joe's disappointed – Jofra certainly was. I was very fortunate, you don't get many opportunities like that."

The second Test ended in a draw after Williamson (104) and Taylor (105) thwarted England's attack with an unbroken 213-run partnership to help seal a fifth successive series win at home.

The hosts won the first game at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui by an innings and 65 runs but England held the upper hand for significant periods in the second Test.

"We want to become resilient in these conditions and make sure that we can back up performances like this and become a much harder side to beat and then go on and win games when it gets flat or it gets hard," Root said.

Meanwhile, New Zealand coach Gary Stead is "quietly optimistic" that injured pace bowler Trent Boult and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme will be available for his side's three-Test series that starts against Australia in Perth next week.

Left-arm pace bowler Boult (ribs) and all-rounder De Grandhomme (stomach muscle) both sustained injuries in New Zealand's first-Test victory over England.

The pair missed the drawn second Test in Hamilton but are hoping to feature against Australia on December 12.

"They're both progressing well, which is encouraging for us," New Zealand coach Gary Stead said. "I don't know if I'm really confident – I'm quietly optimistic.

"Both are going to have to prove their fitness a couple of days out and bowl a decent spell of probably 10-12 overs at least."

Updated: December 3, 2019 03:09 PM

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