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Hove, May 04 - 07, 2021, Second Eleven Championship
487 & 243/8d
(T:321) 410 & 153/5

Match drawn


Jofra Archer goes wicketless on low-key return to the day job for Sussex seconds

England fast bowler bowls 11 overs without luck, as he tests his elbow after injury issues

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller
Jofra Archer produced a cautious but increasingly rhythmic day's work on his return to bowling after his recent injury issues, as Surrey's reserves resisted his advances on a rain-affected second day of their 2nd XI County Championship clash with Sussex at Hove.
By the close, Surrey had eased along to 215 for 3 in reply to Sussex's 487, with Ryan Patel's unbeaten 94 providing the backbone of their innings. Patel added 115 for the third wicket with Laurie Evans, who made 46, and a further unbeaten stand of 53 with Nico Reifer (32), and has a chance to press on to his hundred on day three after being dropped at slip in the penultimate over.
As for Archer, he returned figures of 0 for 32 in 11 overs, spread across two spells of six and five overs respectively, as he shelved any quest for pyrotechnics and set about road-testing his troublesome right elbow, with the first Test against New Zealand at Lord's now just under a month away.
His introduction came in a 25-minute burst with the new ball before lunch, after Surrey's spinner Dan Moriarty had picked off Sussex's last three wickets for the hard-earned figures of 4 for 122 in 38.3 overs.
The home side's mainstay was the 19-year-old Oliver Carter, who was last man out for a fine 160 - the first score of note of his professional career, and one which showcased an unflappable temperament and an excellent straight-lined technique, as he added a further 50 runs to his overnight 110.
When his turn finally came, Archer might have picked up a wicket straightaway, as Surrey's 19-year-old opener Ben Geddes - perhaps a little daunted by the reputation steaming in towards him - flinched his first ball airily off the pads and into a gap on the leg side. But he was more confidently forward for the remainder of an exploratory over, before picking off a brace of boundaries as Archer twice overpitched to ease along to 9 not out at the break.
It was left to Will Sheffield, Sussex's young left-arm seamer, to upstage his senior partner in the wickets column, although he won't be encouraging too many of his friends and family to seek out his efforts on the ECB live stream. His first ball after lunch was a pie to end all pies - a hip-high full toss, swinging invitingly down the leg side, but Geddes - with his guard down - could only look on in horror as he clipped the offering straight into the pocket of square leg.
Sheffield's second was an improvement but hardly a jaffa - an inviting outswinging half-volley that Will Jacks cuffed on the up to short cover. At which point Archer, commandeering a plumb position at first slip in his "Sharks" woolly hat, must have assumed it was not to be his day.
Sure enough, Archer's fortunes in his eighth over - the second of his new spell, after a 90-minute rain delay - rather summed things up. His first delivery, short and sitting up outside off, was clattered through mid-on by Patel to bring up the fifty stand. Two balls later, with Patel on 42, third slip couldn't cling on to his right as Archer jammed the splice with one of his sharpest deliveries of the day.
And before the over was out, he'd given away five penalty runs too, as the keeper allowed himself to be nutmegged by a length ball outside off, which then rolled into short leg's helmet, perched behind him.
And that was broadly the end of that as far as Archer's day was concerned. Joe Pocklington entered the attack with his left-arm spin, as did Luke Benkenstein - son of Durham's Championship-winning captain Dale - whom Reifer launched over deep midwicket shortly before Patel's late let-off. There will be stiffer tests ahead for Archer, but at least he's back on the park.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket

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