Jofra Archer on Steve Smith neck blow - "We’ll laugh about it one day"

Press Association Sport 21:42 28/08/2019
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Jofra Archer.

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 PA.

“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.

“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 regain 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.

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.

“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.

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