Australia can expect plenty more bouncers from Jofra Archer during the rest of the Ashes, says his England teammate Ben Stokes.
Archer made an eye-catching debut at Lord’s, bowling with sustained pace and aggression and hitting a top speed of more than 96mph. Australia’s batsmen never looked comfortable against him and took a number of blows including Steve Smith being hit on the back of the neck during his first innings.
Thankfully, Australia’s number four was able to walk off the pitch although he was subsequently withdrawn from the game on the final day with concussion. He will be assessed in the coming days but his participation in the next game in Leeds remains in doubt.
Despite the incident, Stokes confirmed there would be no let up as England look to Archer to help them reclaim the Ashes. “It’s part of the game and a big part of Jofra’s game, being aggressive, not letting batsmen settle,” Stokes said. “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 ‘I’m going to keep doing it’.”
Stokes feels that Archer’s bouncer is so difficult to deal with because, unlike other bowlers, the 24 year-old gives nothing away in his action which lets the batsmen know a short one is coming. “He doesn’t have any tells,” said Stokes. “Some bowlers you get a tell when they’re going to bowl a bouncer or a different ball.
“Because everything is so rhythmical with Jofra it is tough to see when that bouncer is coming. He’s very tight to the stumps as well. Everything looks just so languid, you wonder if he’s loose and then he fires one… watching the ball fly through, it was very impressive to watch.
“He gives another dimension to our bowling attack and what we are able to do. I’d rather have him on my team than have to face him. He’s a frightening talent and he’s announced himself on the world stage, just in a different format again this year. Literally the sky is the limit for him and he’s a great addition to our Test team.”
Smith is a doubt for the third Test at Headingley on Thursday (August 22) after being withdrawn from the game at Lord’s with concussion. Although he returned to bat after being felled by Archer having passed all the relevant concussion tests, Smith subsequently developed further symptoms the following day and was withdrawn from the Australian team. Marnus Labuschagne became the first ever concussion replacement in Test history as a result.
“I was leg slip, leg gully,” said Stokes of the delivery to Smith. “It just hit flesh. Not one of the nicest things to see on a cricket field, seeing someone go straight down like that was a pretty scary couple of minutes for everyone out there but it was great seeing him get back up.
“I messaged him . . . to see how everything was… we’ve got a good relationship from playing together at Rajasthan and so does Jofra. I had a little giggle with him, which was good, saying Jofra’s a good shot to hit that pea-head. I think he was as in good a fettle as he could have been. It was good to see him get back up and walk of the pitch.” (Cricbuzz)