Steve Smith is set to return to the Australia side for the fourth Test at Old Trafford and resume his battle with England’s Jofra Archer. But before that, things are getting heated off the field.
Smith, who is recovering from a concussion caused by an Archer bouncer in the second Test at Lord’s, which kept him out of the third Test, has refused to be intimidated by the youngster’s fiery pace. In a recent chat, he pointed out that Archer hadn’t dismissed him yet in the series.
“There’s been a bit of talk that he’s got the wood over me, but he hasn’t actually got me out,” Smith had said. “He hit me on the head on a wicket that was a bit up and down at Lord’s. All the other bowlers have had more success against me, I daresay. I’ve faced them a bit more, but they’ve all got me out a lot more.”
Steve Smith: “There’s been a bit of talk that he’s got the wood over me, but he hasn’t got me out.”
Jofra Archer: “Well, I can’t get him out if he wasn’t there.”
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) August 29, 2019
To which Archer had a simple, smiling response: “Well, I can’t get him out if he wasn’t there.”
Archer, who picked up his maiden five-wicket Test haul in Leeds, went on to insist that his focus was not on any one Australian batsman.
“I did want to bowl at [Smith] when he came back out [at Lord’s], but he was out before I even got to come back on,” he said. “But there’ll be more than ample time to get him out.
“I’m not saying I won’t get him out, but if we don’t get him out there’s 10 other people we can get out and if he’s stranded on 40, that’s not helping his team too much. He can’t do it all himself. We want to win the game. I’m not here to get caught up in a contest with one man. I want to win the Ashes.”
Archer revealed that he had also been at the receiving end of banter while batting in the second innings. “It was terrible chat,” he said. “It made me laugh.
“I think it was either Tim Paine or [Matthew] Wade when it was going off [checking his dismissal]. Someone said: ‘That is a great shot, Jof.’ If it did go for six it would have been.”