Jofra Archer surged England into a commanding position in the third Ashes Test with his maiden six-for in the format a ray of sunlight on a rain-affected first day at Headingley.
The Sussex paceman came into the third Test fresh and firing having rendered Australia’s talisman Steve Smith to the sidelines after a lethal bouncer at Lord’s, and his speed and variation was too much for the visitors once more.
Marcus Harris was drafted into the Aussie line-up for this third Test of the series, which the visitors lead 1-0, but was soon sent packing after edging behind to Jonny Bairstow off Archer.
Rain then intervened as Australia stood at 12-1 for what seemed liked an eternity to the Leeds crowd who sat through the gloomy clouds above in hope of receiving their money’s worth.
It was those who had travelled from Down Under who would have felt most positive in that respect halfway through the day as Australia survived the dismissal of Usman Khawaja to battle towards 136-2 at a generous run rate.
But then the Archer show came to town. England were deflated after David Warner, hitting his first milestone score of the series, successfully overturned a caught behind decision off Stuart Broad.
But moments later the England players were jumping in jubilation as Archer got the pitbull-like batsman to prod at a full-length delivery which this time carried to Bairstow without any need for referral.
Broad then catalysed an Archer onslaught with one of the finest balls of his career, a round-the-wicket delivery which straightened to beat Travis Head’s bat and clip the top of off stump.
Archer then dismissed Matthew Wade in bizarre circumstances as a straight ball hit the batsman’s leg and then trickled onto the stump. The slip cordon erupted but Archer’s view was blocked by the Aussie, with an almost embarrassed cheer eventually coming from the 24-year-old.
After Chris Woakes trapped captain Tim Paine LBW, Archer then collected his fourth and fifth victims, mixing up his short bowling with full deliveries to dismiss James Pattison and Pat Cummins with edges behind.
While others fell, Smith’s replacement Marnus Labuschagne showed terrific resistance and maturity in just his sixth Test outing. The 25-year-old was undone by nothing more than a full bunger, though, from the right hand of Ben Stokes.
After he went Archer ensured there would be no gallant 10th-wicket partnership as, with his first ball after returning to the attack, he slammed the red leather into Nathan Lyon’s pad, which was directly in front of the stumps.
Headingley stood up and applauded Archer as he left the field, arm aloft, ball in hand.
He’ll want to do it all again as soon as possible, but if England are to win this Test then hopefully we’ll have to wait a little while to see his magic again.