What they are saying about Jofra Archer after 'frightening' Ashes debut
Australia hold on for a draw, but the momentum has shifted in England's favour
The second Ashes Test at Lord's finished in a draw on Sunday, but it was anything but dull after England unleashed their secret weapon and Australia were left licking their wounds.
Archer’s explosive bowling has reignited the Ashes series
Steve Smith is a doubt for the third Test after being hit on the neck by a short ball from Jofra Archer. The Australian wasn’t the only tourist targeted by Archer as he announced himself on the Test scene with some of the fieriest fast bowling ever seen.
England pundits and press reporters were reaching for the superlatives as the Barbados-born quick terrorised the Australians and changed the dynamic of what is turning into an action-packed Ashes series. Perhaps the best analysis, however, came from Archer’s teammate, Ben Stokes, who described him as “frightening”. He continued: “I am not sure there will be a better debut in terms of announcing yourself in the team. The spell was incredible to watch.We are very lucky he is in our team. He gives you an extra dimension.”
Rain denies England
Admittedly, Archer’s exploits weren’t enough to win England the second Test - although who knows what the outome might have been if ten overs hadn’t been lost to rain on Sunday morning. That left England needing a minor miracle to win the Test and level the series, and although Ben Stokes won the man of the match award for smashing a superb century they eventually ran out of time to skittle out the Aussies. The tourists were 154-6 when the umpires called it a day, a total that included a fine half-century from substitute Marnus Labuschagne, who, in a Test cricket first, replaced Smith as the new concussion law permits.
Labuschagne also felt the wrath of Archer - felled by a wicked lifting short ball at the start of his innings - but he showed commendable guts to grind out 59 runs that helped his side avoid an demoralising defeat.
Smith a doubt
Whether Smith is passed fit to play in the third Test at Headingley, which starts on Thursday, is in the hands of the tourists’ doctors, but even if he does play there will be at the back of his mind the spectre of more serious speed from Archer. “I’m not sure about Headingley,” said the Aussie captain, Tim Paine, when asked about Smith. “He’ll need to improve, there’s no doubt about that.” As for Archer, Paine insisted he didn’t take them by surprise with his pace and hostility. “We know the package he brings. It’s something every team wants to have,” he said.
With more 96mph bouncers expected in Yorkshire, Paine said the tourists will be preparing for the barrage in the nets this week. “We’ve had a look at it, it’s something we can get better at. Its not all doom and gloom.”
Archer has energised England
After the misery of defeat in last week’s first Test at Edgbaston, England’s mood been lifted by Archer’s extraordinay display and they head to Headingley in bullish frame of mind. “Jofra has grabbed these Ashes by the scruff of the neck,” said BBC cricket pundit Phil Tufnell. “I was driving home from Edgbaston and I couldn’t see how they’d take 20 wickets. Jofra has turned it on its head. I haven’t seen that for a long, long time.”
What they’re saying about Archer’s Test debut
Michael Vaughan: ”We are witnessing someone very very very special in Jofra Archer”
Nasser Hussain: “How you handle Archer is going to be paramount going forward, as fast bowlers are like gold dust. Look after him, because this lad is an absolute gem”
Chris Woakes: “He’s been incredible. It was serious pace. I haven’t been on the field when someone has bowled that fast consistently.”
Joe Root: ”What an impact he has made already, the way he went about his business, 96mph in his 27th over and I can see him causing a lot of problems for a lot of batsmen throughout the world.”
Michael Atherton in The Times: “The sight of Steve Smith poleaxed... recalled the end of a boxing contest rather than a cricket match and Australia’s plans in this series have been thrown into disarray by Jofra Archer.”
Sydney Morning Herald: ”In three days of chaos, the most untamed draw, this Test match has given the series what every sporting contest most needs: a sense that anything can happen next.”