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Jofra Archer bowls long spells for Sussex seconds to confirm Ashes fitness

Jofra Archer put down a sharp caught-and-bowled chance Getty Images

Jofra Archer got through 19 overs for Sussex's 2nd XI on Wednesday to further emphasise his readiness for a likely Test debut at Lord's next week.

With James Anderson already ruled out of that Test, Warwickshire confirmed today that Olly Stone would miss at least two weeks' cricket with a back problem, leaving Archer and Sam Curran as the frontrunners to bolster the pace attack against Australia.

Mark Wood (side and knee) and Lewis Gregory (foot) are also injured, meaning England's seam bowling stocks are relatively bare.

After a staggering first day, in which he took 6 for 29 in 12.1 overs before hitting a rapid hundred from number six, Archer had a quieter day at Woodmancote against a young Gloucestershire 2nd XI.

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He leaked a few runs in his first spell, as opener Tom Price hit three boundaries in the first four balls he bowled, before Greg Willows pulled a short ball for six over long leg.

But Archer ended up with 19 overs under his belt, returning figures of 1 for 78. There was a brief scare after he dropped a difficult caught-and-bowled chance, as he stayed down for around a minute, but he picked himself back up and took the wicket of George Drissell, who fended a short ball that rose sharply off the pitch to gully.

Archer is playing in the fixture to prove his fitness, after suffering a side strain during the World Cup, although Sussex coach Jason Gillespie told TalkSPORT he was "surprised" he had missed out on the first Test and that Archer was "100 percent fit, ready to go".

Curran, meanwhile, is set to play in Surrey's Vitality Blast fixtures on Thursday and Friday, though will be made unavailable for Sunday's game at Glamorgan.

While Archer has not made a first-class appearance in nearly 11 months, Curran has played four games for Surrey this Championship season - taking 18 wickets at 23.22 - as well as an England Lions game and the Test against Ireland two weeks ago. Curran took 3 for 28 in that game, but with coach Trevor Bayliss highlighting the need for "guys with a bit more pace", Archer looks to be the front-runner.

It is feasible that both seamers could play, with Joe Denly dropping out and Ben Stokes moving up to number four, though captain Joe Root stressed after the defeat at Edgbaston that England "don't have to make any shotgun decisions in terms of selection.

"We got plenty of time before the next game," Root said. "It's really important that we're very clear on how we want to go about it."

Anderson, meanwhile, remains hopeful of playing some part in the rest of the series.

"The thought of more time away from the game is driving me nuts," he told The Sun. "I haven't thought about giving up. My body feels great everywhere else, I'm as fit as I've ever been. It's just this one muscle that is bugging me and not allowing me to do what I want to.

"I'm pretty confident I can get over this, I want to keep going. The plan is to get back and play some part in The Ashes but, if that doesn't work out, the winter is absolutely on my radar."