A gripping spell of fast bowling by England debutant Jofra Archer to Australia talisman Steve Smith in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s ended with the batsman taking a bouncer to the neck. The 92.4 mph delivery forced Smith to walk off before returning to give up his wicket to Chris Woakes cheaply.
A concussion kept Smith from returning for the second innings as Australia clung on for a draw, while he was not fit to play in the third Test either. At Headingley, Ben Stokes hit a match-winning ton and leveled the series 1-1.
Now, Smith will be returning to competitive action in a tour match against Derbyshire in Manchester on Thursday. Ahead of his comeback, Smith played down the Archer threat, saying the England pacer is yet to dismiss him in Tests.
“There’s been a bit of talk that he’s got the wood over me, but he hasn’t got me out. He hit me on the head on a wicket that was a bit up and down at Lord’s. All the other bowlers have had more success against me, I daresay. I’ve faced them a bit more, but they’ve all got me out a lot more,” Smith said.
But Archer was not letting Smith have any moral victory.
Responding to Smith’s comments, Archer came up with a cheeky comment when he said Smith has to be there batting for him to get him out while referring to the bouncer that made the Aussie star unavailable for the third Test.
Archer, who claimed his maiden 5-wicket haul at Headingley though maintained that he is not going to focus on individual battles but on helping England win the Ashes.
“Well, I can’t get him out if he wasn’t there. But there’ll be more than ample time to get him out.
“I’m not saying I won’t get him out, but if we don’t get him out there are ten other people we can get out, and if he’s stranded on 40 that’s not helping his team too much. He can’t do it all himself. We want to win the game. I’m not here to get caught up in a contest with one man. I want to win the Ashes,” Archer said.