My favourite Bowling Performance
Jofra Archer, Lords day 4
Not often do we see true pace in test cricket. In the 80s, pace of 95mph was almost normal. Nowadays, 90 is rare. But on test debut, against the feared Australians Jofra Archer went and bowled fast. Properly fast. Bar clearingly fast. When you look at the scorecard - his figures of 2-59 in 29 overs doesn't leap off the page at you. When you look at who he dismissed - Bancroft and Paine , the phrase 'not Smith' comes into your head. But his speed was what mattered. his fastest ball clocked in at 96.2mph, and one of his overs averaged 92.6mph, the fastest over ever recorded by an English bowler. When he clattered Steve Smith on the head, in that fateful 77th over, Lord's went silent. As Smith walked off, later to be found to be concussed, England managed to open a crack in the Aussie dressing room. He couldn't play in the 3rd test, and if he had, Australia would have undoubtedly won. Archer effectively dismissed Smith 4 times - first innings at lords, second innings at lords, and both in Headingley.
Archer also managed to keep up the speed for a long time - he was in his 22nd over when he started his spell. He bowled 7 overs, most of the balls in which were over 90mph, and also most of them were bouncers. It changed the series, and changed test cricket - the neck guard that would have protected Smith is now much more commonplace than it was even 8 months ago