Jofra Archer claimed the second six-wicket haul of his fledging Test career and gave England a hope of squaring the Ashes series on a dramatic day in London.
Archer’s six for 62 helped England dismiss Australia for 225 and take a useful first-innings lead of 69, which openers Rory Burns and Joe Denly extended by nine before stumps on the second evening.
England even managed to dismiss the Australian run-machine Steve Smith for 80, his lowest score in the ongoing series – though Smith, who was trapped lbw by Chris Woakes for the second time this summer, later revealed he was feeling under the weather with a spot of flu.
“I felt pretty good at the crease, but I’ve been struggling a bit with the flu, and was loading up on the meds and tried to stay as focussed as I could be.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t bat with the tail as long as I would have liked,” said Smith.
Archer also felt something was wrong with Smith during his unconvincing innings
“He didn’t look as nailed on as he usually is,” said Archer after the end of the day’s play. When told about Smith’s ailment, he replied: “Fair enough. I knew there was something.”
But that didn’t stop England’s strike bowler sounding frustrated as he described the experience of bowling to a player who has now amassed 751 runs in six innings at an average of 125.
“It’s weird… Every time he bats, I don’t know what it is – he literally cannot get out,” said Archer.
“If he plays a bad shot, the ball just lands in no-man’s land. He’s a good batter and he’s got a good temperament, but the ball just never goes to hand,” he added.