Assistant coach Graham Thorpe has suggested fast bowler Jofra Archer will return to the England XI for this week’s fourth and final Test against the Proteas at the Wanderers.
Archer didn’t play the second and third Test at Newlands and St George’s Park, respectively, due to an elbow injury. He might replace fellow fast bowler Mark Wood in the XI in Johannesburg.
‘Jofra had good rhythm and bowled nice and quick today. That’s where we want Jofra to be. He looks good, but he will have to come in again tomorrow and back it up,’ Thorpe told TalkSPORT.
‘I am really confident that Jos will have a good Test match here. 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.
‘Mark 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 Wood will be really honest with us.’
Whether the tourists, who lead the series 2-1, enter the decider with an all-pace attack remains in the balance. Spinner Dom Bess was instrumental with a first-innings, five-wicket haul in Port Elizabeth.
‘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,’ added Thorpe.
‘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’ll be nice to have all those options on the table.’
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