England warn Australia ahead of third Test that Jofra Archer won’t change

Luke BradshawSports Writer
Yahoo Sport UK

There will be no let up in the aggression shown by England’s bowling attack when the Ashes resumes for the third Test at Headingley, according to the home side.

While England have named an unchanged lineup, Australia have confirmed that they will be without premier batsman Steve Smith.

The leading scorer of the series so far retired hurt during the first innings of the second Test at Lord’s last week after being struck on the head by a Jofra Archer bouncer.

He returned to the field after being assessed but withdrew the following day after his condition deteriorated.

Speaking ahead of the Test in Leeds, England’s vice-captain Ben Stokes said: “It’s part of the game and a big part of Jofra’s game, being aggressive, not letting batsmen settle. That bouncer of his is a huge asset and he’s going to keep on doing it.

“When someone takes a nasty blow, no bowler is going to say ‘I’m not going to bowl that again because I don’t want to hit them again’. The concern is always there when someone takes it. But next ball, when you get back to the mark, it’s [a case of] ‘I’m going to keep doing it’.”

Jofra’s own father, Frank, has also come out in support of his son, championing what he deems an important part of the game.

He said: “If we speak historically we’ve seen greats from Australia, the West Indies and the cricketing world have pace and bouncers,” he told the BBC’s Today programme. “They’re a part of the methodology that seamers employ.”

The ball that caught Smith was clocked at 92mph, with Archer going on to exceed 96mph with a delivery later in the day.

Archer also hit Smith’s on-field substitute, Marnus Labuschagne, on the grille when facing his second ball of a solid innings that helped prevent England levelling the series.

Justin Langer spoke to Steve Smith at Headingley after he was ruled out (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Justin Langer spoke to Steve Smith at Headingley after he was ruled out (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Smith has hit by a rapid Jofra Archer delivery (Photo by Jed Leicester/Getty Images)
Smith has hit by a rapid Jofra Archer delivery (Photo by Jed Leicester/Getty Images)

While Archer is one of the fastest bowlers currently playing the game, it has been his style as much as his speed that has caused batsmen problems in his career to date.

The Barbados-born quick’s languid, steady run-up belies the subsequent pace of his delivery, with opponents struggling to decipher slower balls from genuine pace.

Stokes added: “Jofra just makes it look so easy, like he’s walking in to bowl. And I’d rather have him on my team than have to face him. He’s a frightening talent.”

While there has been no issue with the pace or height of Archer’s bowling, the 24-year-old has faced criticism for his reaction immediately after striking Smith and a perceived lack of empathy.

He has, however, found a somewhat unlikely ally in former Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson, the man whose own blistering pace ripped through England in the 2013/14 Ashes series with devastating effect.

Speaking in his column for the i Newspaper, Mitchell Johnson said: “Some of the criticism of Archer and the way both he and some of his England team-mates reacted is so far wide of the mark I can hardly believe it.

“How, from the footage available, any journalist can deduce that he didn’t care as much as ‘he should have done’ is beyond me. How do we know what went through his mind at that moment. We don’t.”

Losing Smith presents a significant blow for the tourists. Having scored 144, 142 and 92 in his three innings so far, the former captain has consistently caused a headache for England’s bowling attack and skipper, Joe Root.

Australia lead the five-Test series 1-0 with three Tests to play.

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