Archer to have hand surgery as England prepare for 'another final'

By Sports Desk March 27, 2021

England confirmed Jofra Archer will undergo hand surgery while he recovers from an elbow injury, as his team-mates prepared for an ODI decider against India.

Archer was ruled out of the ODI series due to a worsening elbow issue and travelled home to the United Kingdom.

The fast bowler has since had a scan and a consultant review, which has prompted the decision to have a procedure on his right hand, while he has also had a further injection for his right elbow.

"The procedure on Jofra's hand will take place on Monday 29 March so he can recover during the planned break following his elbow injection," a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) read on Saturday.

"Jofra suffered a cut to his hand while cleaning at his home in January shortly before flying to India to prepare for the Test series.

"The injury was managed by the ECB's medical team through the tour and it did not impact on his availability.

"Further investigation and a specialist opinion was sought upon his return to the UK and, in conjunction with the ECB medical panel, it has been decided that surgery is the best option to manage his injury in the longer term."

As well as dealing with Archer's absence, England have been without captain Eoin Morgan since the first ODI after sustaining his own hand injury.

But stand-in skipper Jos Buttler was still waiting on news of the fitness of Sam Billings, who missed the second ODI with a bruised collarbone, and Mark Wood, who was rested.

England lost their four-match Test series against India 3-1 and were then beaten in a Twenty20 International decider to go down 3-2.

Tied at 1-1 ahead of the third and final ODI, Buttler is hoping for better luck as he targets a third successive win as captain for the first time. He has five victories from seven matches so far.

"We want to win all the games we play," he said. "It's great to be in another final, as such. Obviously the T20s went to a decider and this series will do the same.

"They're great games to be involved in, we're all very much looking forward to it. It was an excellent performance [on Friday], so we take lots of confidence into the game on Sunday."

Friday saw England claim a six-wicket win thanks to a superb chase led by Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes.

Bairstow (124), who has now hit an England record 26 sixes against India, had 100-run stands with both fellow opener Jason Roy and Stokes, as the tourists had two century partnerships in the same ODI for the first time since the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Bairstow and Roy reached the hundred mark for the 13th time in ODIs, the most ever recorded by an England duo, while they have the highest average (61.6) of any opening partnership in the history of the format (20-plus innings).

Led by the pair, England have outscored India 148 to 80 in the powerplays in this series.

"They're right up there, aren't they? Everyone will have their opinions on who's the best, but those two have been fantastic," Buttler said.

"The way they play, the pressure their put on an opposition, and the consistency... the way they do that, the fashion they play, it's quite remarkable really.

"They've created some fantastic stands. I don't know the exact numbers, but I know they're pretty impressive. We're all delighted to have them at the top of the order.

"People talk about the numbers a lot of the time, but for us it's more about the fashion we play in, committing to that and the numbers will always look after themselves."

Stokes certainly plays in the same fashion, his rapid innings seeing 50 runs off the first 40 balls and 49 off the next 11.

Asked how the display ranked among the white-ball efforts of an all-rounder who has averaged 56.4 in ODIs since the start of 2017, Buttler had a cheery response.

"It was certainly pretty impressive, wasn't it? He's had a few," the captain said. "His World Cup final one was pretty good. I enjoyed that one."

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