PRETORIA – Jofra Archer was expected to light up this series, although he probably wouldn’t have expected to do it in the manner with which he ended the second day of the first Test here on Friday.
Archer bowled two waste high full tosses at nightwatchman Anrich Nortje – the first was called by umpire Paul Reiffel who’d swapped his normal position at square leg for point on account of the setting sun. Reiffel called the second no-ball too, although he quickly withdrew his decision seemingly under pressure from Archer and Stuart Broad fielding at mid-off. Had the decision stood to call Archer for a second ‘beamer’ he would not be allowed to bowl for the remainder of South Africa’s second innings.
That decision by Reiffel to change his mind angered the South African dressing-room with Proteas captain Faf du Plessis heading for match referee Andy Pycroft’s room for a chat, quickly followed by head coach Mark Boucher and team manager Volvo Masubelele. The chat continued on the steps of the home side’s dressing room but for now, it seems Archer will continue to bowl.
“If you are at square leg and you call a no ball you must stand your ground,” Vernon Philander said afterwards. “We are playing a game and setting an example and you have to make the right call. Are we going to tolerate it at another game and the another? Or are we going to put a stop to it right here? The umpires need to make the right call.”
Joe Denly said he was surprised that Archer would try two slower balls in a row, but felt the second delivery wasn’t a beamer. “The second one just missed the stumps,” said Denly.