England fast bowler Jofra Archer is a step closer to being fit for the first Ashes Test after being cleared to play for Sussex in the T20 Blast on Friday.

The 24-year-old, who has yet to play a Test, was left out of the ongoing match against Ireland to rest a side problem.

He bowled in the nets on Thursday and, if he comes through Sussex’s game against Surrey, will be in line to face .

The first Ashes Test at Edgbaston begins on 1 August.

Barbados-born Archer qualified to play for England in March and was their leading wicket-taker in the World Cup-winning campaign.

His availability for the first Test would add more competition to an already crowded fast-bowling scene.

Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran are playing against Ireland at Lord’s, alongside debutant Olly Stone, who impressed with three wickets on Wednesday.

James Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, missed the Ireland game with a calf injury, but is also set to be fit for the first Ashes Test.

Mark Wood, another star of England’s World Cup success, is out with a side problem and could miss the first three Tests.

England are set to name their squad for the first Test this weekend, while will name their Ashes squad on Friday.