Jofra Archer in beamer row as England endure difficult second day

South Africa nightwatchman Anrich Nortje was forced to take evasive action from successive deliveries

South Africa batsmen Anrich Nortje reacts after avoiding a short ball from England’s Jofra Archer during day two  of the first Test match at SuperSport Park  in Pretoria. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

South Africa batsmen Anrich Nortje reacts after avoiding a short ball from England’s Jofra Archer during day two of the first Test match at SuperSport Park in Pretoria. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

 

Day 2 of 5: South Africa 284 (Q de Kock 95; S Curran 4-58, S C J Broad 4-58) & 72-4 lead England 181 (J Denly 50; V Philander 4-16) by 175 runs

Jofra Archer finds himself in the middle of a beamer row after South Africa’s Vernon Philander hinted that the England seamer should have been removed from the attack on day two of the first Test in Pretoria.

Archer was bowling to nightwatchman Anrich Nortje late on a difficult second day for the tourists – they closed 175 behind with six second-innings wickets still to take after being bowled out for 181 – when he sent down successive high full tosses.

Neither delivery was propelled at the breakneck pace Archer is capable of, with both appearing to be botched variations on his slower ‘knuckle ball’, but Nortje was visibly rattled as he twice collapsed to the turf to avoid being struck.

The first was called as a no-ball and had the second been treated similarly, Archer would not have been able to bowl again in the match.

Square-leg umpire Paul Reiffel made the no-ball signal after the second delivery, which passed just over the stumps but went past Nortje at a greater elevation, though the standing umpire Chris Gaffaney did not call it.

There was on-field confusion in the moment and animated scenes on the South Africa balcony, which was clearly unhappy about Nortje’s treatment.

Match referee Andy Pycroft is understood to have spoken to England captain Joe Root about the incident and Archer is cleared to continue on day three, albeit under greater scrutiny.

Philander had earlier bowled outstandingly as he claimed four for 16 and was just as uncompromising as he assessed the drama surrounding his fellow paceman.

South Africa batsmen Anrich Nortje sits on the ground after avoiding a short ball from Jofra Archer as Jonny Bairstow looks on. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
South Africa batsmen Anrich Nortje sits on the ground after avoiding a short ball from Jofra Archer as Jonny Bairstow looks on. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

“The umpires have to deal with it and make the right call,” he said.

“I suppose if you’re at square leg and you call ‘no-ball’ you’ve got to stand your ground. At no time did they actually cancel it [Reiffel’s signal].

“I don’t know what happened but there was a little bit of a conversation going on after the game. For me it’s plain and simple, we’re playing a game and we’re setting an example for the rest of the people coming into this game.

“Are we going to tolerate it at another game or are we going to put a stop to it right here?”

Asked if his disciplined performance, which ripped the life out of England’s innings, was an example that elaborate but risky variations were not necessary, Philander risked needling Archer by adding: “That’s why it’s called the purest format: don’t try silly things that can cost you not bowling another ball in the innings.”

England clearly took a different view to Philander about Archer, with Joe Denly seeking to downplay the late tension.

“The first one, fair enough, he didn’t quite get it right,” offered the batsman.

“He’s bowled that a lot for us and it’s worked pretty well but I wasn’t expecting the second one if I’m totally honest. It just missed the stumps so I thought it was a fair enough delivery.

“I saw [Reiffel] put his arm out and I think he tucked it in again as well. I was talking to Gaffaney and I think he said they withdrew the second one.”

England were earlier bundled out for 181 as they lost control of a Test which accelerated wildly towards a conclusion with 15 wickets on day two.

Responding to the Proteas’ 284 all out, the tourists found themselves comprehensively outmatched by the inspired seam duo of Philander and Kagiso Rabada as they conceded a 103-run deficit.

On a Centurion pitch that has strongly favoured the bowlers, and which shows no signs of settling down, that could well prove a decisive margin but England pacemen did their best to fight fire with fire.

Stuart Broad and James Anderson both struck early before Archer picked up two, leaving South Africa 175 ahead on 72 for four at stumps.

No reminders are needed that this is a side who have come back from worse positions – with Ben Stokes’s miracle of Headingley seeing them chase down 359 after being routed for 67 during the Ashes – but once again they find themselves a long shot.

The day’s first point of business was to wrap up South Africa’s first innings and Broad promptly did so, besting Philander with his seventh ball of the morning.

South Africa felt that anything close to 300 was a competitive score on this surface but by the time Rabada and Philander had finished a wonderful new-ball examination, their total looked ominous.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.