Root glad to see Archer ‘live up to hype, shake up things’ on Test debut - GulfToday

Root glad to see Archer ‘live up to hype, shake up things’ on Test debut

Root glad to see Archer ‘live up to hype, shake up things’ on Test debut

England’s Jofra Archer hit several Australians, with a fearsome bouncer slamming into Steve Smith’s unprotected neck, which could rule him out of the third Test on Thursday.

London: England captain Joe Root said fast bowler Jofra Archer had “lived up to the hype” with a dramatic Test debut against Australia at Lord’s.

World Cup winner Archer, who replaced the injured James Anderson in England’s team for the second Ashes Test, took five wickets in the drawn match, including 3-32 in Australia’s second innings on Sunday.

But Archer’s display, which almost helped England achieve an unlikely and series-levelling win in a match severely affected by rain, was about much more than economical figures.

The 24-year-old quick’s sheer speed gave England’s attack a new cutting edge.

Archer hit several Australians, with a fearsome bouncer that slammed into Steve Smith’s unprotected neck leading to a concussion that kept the star batsman off the field on the last day at Lord’s and could rule him out of the third Test in Leeds starting on Thursday.

“He’s come in and he really has made a massive impact, added a different dynamic to our bowling group and has given Australia something different to think about,” said Root.

“It’s really pleasing to see someone come in on Test debut and really shake up things and live up to the hype -- even some of the hype that he put on himself.

“He makes things happen when not many others in world cricket can. Such a unique action and way of bowling, and obviously natural pace, which is always going to be in the game on any surface.”

Root added: “When you’ve got that and the skill of other guys around it, it makes for a tasty combination and I think that’s one of the reasons why we always felt we were in the game tonight.

“It makes for a very interesting last three games.”

England set Australia a target of 267 to win in 48 overs after Root declared their second innings following Ben Stokes’s 115 not out.

Archer and left-arm spinner Jack Leach both took three wickets apiece but Marnus Labuschagne, Test cricket’s inaugural concussion substitute after coming in for Smith, top-scored with 59 in an Australia total of 154-6 that secured a draw.

Labuschagne’s innings, which ended with a disputed catch by Root, was all the more impressive given the second ball he faced saw him hit flush on the grille of his helmet by a 91.6 mph Archer bouncer.

“I thought Jofra bowled really well,” said Australia captain Tim Paine. “Guys bowling at that pace take time to get used to and Jofra bowls from quite a height. He gets steep bounce.”

Meanwhile, compulsory neck guards on helmets for Australian cricketers are “not far away”, the national team’s medical chief said Monday after a sickening blow felled Steve Smith during the second Ashes Test.

Australia have been at the forefront of pressing for better safety measures after the death of Phillip Hughes, who was hit on the base of the skull by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield game in 2014.

Following an independent investigation into the tragedy, Cricket Australia introduced new rules for concussion substitutes in domestic games.

These have now been adopted by the International Cricket Council and were used for the first time when Smith was replaced by Marnus Labuschagne on Sunday against England at Lord’s after medics ruled him unfit to carry on.

The inquest into Hughes’ death also recommended first-class players in Australia wear helmets made to British safety standards while batting against medium pace or fast bowling.

That included the use of specially designed neck guards, known as Stemguards.

But they are not compulsory and Smith, who collapsed to the ground face first after the vicious ball from Jofra Archer smacked into the side of his neck, in scenes reminiscent of the Hughes incident, was not wearing one. He said afterwards they made him claustrophobic and uncomfortable.

Agence France-Presse