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We’ll laugh about it one day – Jofra Archer reflects on Steve Smith neck blow

The incident ruled Smith out of the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

Jofra Archer ahead of the fourth Ashes Test
Jofra Archer ahead of the fourth Ashes Test

By Ed Elliot, PA

Jofra Archer expects to one day share a laugh with Steve Smith about the vicious 92mph delivery which left the Australian batsman concussed, but he has no interest in friendship while Ashes glory remains up for grabs.

The in-form pair are set to resume their bruising duel at Old Trafford next week after Smith was forced to sit out England’s astonishing one-wicket win at Headingley which levelled the series.

Australia talisman Smith, who has made 144, 142 and 92 in his three Ashes innings, was knocked to the floor during the drawn Lord’s encounter, having been clattered in the neck by a thunderous short ball from Test debutant Archer.

With the contest now tantalisingly tied at 1-1 following Ben Stokes’ heroics in Leeds, England paceman Archer has no intention of easing off against his Rajasthan Royals team-mate during the two remaining matches.

“We’ve got a job at hand at the moment. We can all sit and talk – probably even laugh – about it later,” Archer told the PA news agency.

“But for now the games are still going on. We still have to keep it a certain way.

“(The likelihood) to actually get hit there is so, so, so small. It could obviously hit the helmet, it could obviously hit your shoulder. To get hit there, you are really unlucky.

We can all sit and talk - probably even laugh - about it later Jofra Archer

“I’m here to get wickets. If they are worrying (about my pace), that’s all on them. For me, we’re here to win games.

“I am (looking forward to facing Smith again). It keeps the cricket a bit more interesting.”

Australia looked certain to retain the Ashes with two Tests to spare before Stokes’ incredible 135 not out dragged the hosts back from the brink.

Archer believes the stunning comeback will have “planted a few seeds of doubt” in the minds of the tourists.

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Ben Stokes inspired England to victory in the third Test (Mike Egerton/PA)

Asked if the momentum was now with England, the 24-year-old said: “We don’t have to be optimists to think so.

“I think we’ve planted a few seeds of doubt in the Australians’ heads so they will probably think twice about declaring, they will wonder if enough is actually enough.”

Archer is excited about the prospect of James Anderson returning to strengthen the home side’s attack after he suffered a recurrence of a calf injury in the Edgbaston opener.

Seamer Anderson, England’s leading Test wicket taker, has been proving his fitness playing for Lancashire’s second XI.

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James Anderson has been playing for Lancashire’s second XI (Anthony Devlin/PA)

“I think we will be ahead (in terms of momentum), obviously Jimmy coming back at his home ground, hopefully he will want to do something special as well. I think the ball’s in our court,” continued Archer.

“He’s a world-class bowler and it only takes a little bit of Jimmy magic to end an innings.

“Whatever wickets he can get means less work for the rest of us bowlers, which means the quicker we can get off, get our feet up.”

Archer, who only became eligible for England earlier this year, bowled the tense super over during the victorious World Cup final against New Zealand in July and has already taken 13 Ashes wickets.

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Jofra Archer hopes England maintain their momentum (Specsavers/PA)

Reflecting on 2019 so far, the Sussex player said: “It’s probably the best year of my life.

“I’ve made all of my debuts, all a few months apart. We’ve won a lot of games in all three formats, so I am happy at the moment.

“I didn’t think I was going to get my maiden five-for this series, so I’m over the moon to actually be doing all right for the team.”

:: Specsavers are the official Test partner of the England cricket team. Archer was speaking to PA Media ahead of the fourth Specsavers Ashes Test match.

PA

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