England’s Ben Stokes has warned Australia that Jofra Archer is preparing to deliver another barrage in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.
Archer turned in a remarkable debut performance in the rain-affected drawn second Test at Lord’s, with a visceral display of hostile fast bowling.
The 92mph delivery which smashed Steve Smith in the neck and ultimately forced him out of the match with concussion proved to be the pivotal point of the game.
Archer had earlier thumped Smith’s left forearm, a painful blow which required X-rays and ice compression, touched a peak of 96.1mph and even floored Test cricket’s first concussion replacement, Marnus Labuschagne, with another rocket.
It’s part of the game and a big part of Jofra’s game – being aggressive, not letting batsmen settle, said Stokes, who hit an unbeaten century in England’s second innings at Lord’s.
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 ‘I’m going to keep doing it’.
Everything is so rhythmical with Jofra it is tough to see when that bouncer is coming.
There’s no ‘tell’. He bowled a lot of them, but they don’t seem to pick it up.
England may travel north trailing 1-0 in the series, but Stokes believes they are a different side with their new recruit in tow.
He gives another dimension to our bowling attack, added the all-rounder. The first innings he bowled 29 overs but his last spell of eight was one of the best out-and-out fast-bowling spells I have seen since I started playing.
We’ve seen Mitchell Johnson do it to us, especially in 2013, but Jofra just makes it look so easy. I’d rather have him on my team than have to face him.
He’s a frightening talent. Literally, the sky is the limit for him and he’s a great addition to our Test team.
England named an unchanged squad on Monday morning, with Surrey all-rounder Sam Curran joining the XI that featured at Lord’s.
Record Test wicket-taker James Anderson is said to be ‘making progress’ from his calf injury and will play in Lancashire’s second team game against Leicestershire in Liverpool over the next three days with a view to being available for the fourth Test at Old Trafford.