England’s fragile batting line-up has been routed by New Zealand on day three of the second Test at Edgbaston, with Joe Root’s side facing the grim inevitability of a first home series defeat since 2014.
Jofra Archer and Mark Wood are creating wickets and doubt in batsmen’s minds through sheer pace, according to England’s match-winner Jos Buttler.
Australia’s current tour of England is yet to feature a single showdown between Archer and Steve Smith, who suffered a delayed concussion during last year’s Ashes after being struck on the neck by the speed demon at Lord’s.
Smith is yet to face a delivery from Archer in the Twenty20 series, having scored 10 and 18 during his side’s losses in Southampton.
The express paceman, who clocked 154kph with one delivery, has nonetheless proven pivotal in the series, claiming the key scalp of David Warner on both occasions.
Archer’s scything delivery on an awkward length dismissed Warner for a third-ball duck in the second T20, drawing an audible “Jesus!” from the batsman.
Warner unsuccessfully reviewed, believing the ball didn’t clip his glove before hitting the arm and soaring to Buttler, before Archer finished the day’s opening over with three slips in place.
The tourists took 18 runs off the final over of their innings, when Archer bowled three wides, but his figures after three overs were 1-14.
Wood finished England’s most economical bowler, logging a tidy 1-25 from his four overs.
“From the first over Jofra set the tone brilliantly, picking up a big wicket,” Buttler said after his unbeaten 77.
“As an opening batsman the last person you want to face first up is Jofra Archer with a brand new ball.
“Pace can create wickets. It creates doubt as a batsman and those two guys have pace in abundance.
“It’s a nice thing to have as a side, those two steaming in, and I’ll try and steer clear of them in the nets.”
England captain Eoin Morgan suggested he had never seen Archer bowl faster this year.