‘He hasn’t actually got me out’… ‘Well, I can’t get him out if he isn’t there!’: Jofra Archer and Steve Smith trade jibes ahead of mouth-watering Old Trafford rematch
- Steve Smith and Jofra Archer have added some fuel to the Ashes fire
- Smith has promised to hit back against the man who hit him in the neck at Lord’s
- Australian batsman was forced to sit out the Headingley Test with concussion
- The two will come face-to-face again in the fourth Test at Old Trafford next week
Steve Smith and Jofra Archer added some fuel to the Ashes fire ahead of next week’s fourth Test, with the Aussie dismissing the threat of the England paceman and the bowler returning the dig.
Smith, who returns on Thursday in a tour match against Derbyshire, promised to hit back against the man who left him stricken on the Lord’s turf and forced him to miss the amazing third Test with concussion.
‘There’s been a bit of talk that he has the wood over me but he hasn’t actually got me out,’ said Smith of Archer.
Steve Smith and Jofra Archer added some fuel to the Ashes fire ahead of the fourth Test
Smith was felled by a 92mph Archer delivery during the second Test at Lord’s this month
The Australian turned away from a bouncer, which ended up hitting him underneath his helmet
Smith slumped to the floor and the cricket world held its breath as he lay motionless
‘He hit me on the head on a wicket at Lord’s that was a bit up and down. All the other bowlers have had a lot more success against me.’
Archer responded by questioning Smith’s logic. ‘Well, I can’t get him out if he wasn’t there,’ said the England quick. ‘I did want to bowl at him when he came back out at Lord’s but he was out before I even got to come back on. But there’ll be more than ample time to get him out.’
Smith insists that thought does not faze him. Nor is he worried by the prospect of Archer and the rest of the England attack targeting him with the short ball on what is expected to be the quickest pitch of the series at Old Trafford.
‘If they’re bowling up there it means they can’t nick me off, or hit me on the pad or hit my stumps,’ said the man returning this summer after the Sandpapergate scandal.
‘With the Dukes ball, I don’t know. That would be an interesting ploy. I’m not really going to change anything.’
Archer and Smith will come face-to-face again in next week’s fourth Test at Old Trafford
Archer added: ‘At the end of the day 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 to be honest.
‘We all know he’s a world-class batter and has the right temperament for Test cricket but he can’t do it all himself.
‘Even if we don’t get him, fair play to him but 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.’
For all Smith’s confidence he admitted his mind went back at Lord’s to the tragic day in 2014 when Australia batsman Phillip Hughes died after being struck in the same area at the back of his neck.
‘I had a few things running through my head when I was hit,’ said Smith. ‘That was probably the first thing I thought about.
‘Then I was like, “I’m ok here”. I was a bit sad but I was all right mentally for the rest of the afternoon.’
Upon his comeback Smith may not be wearing a stem guard despite trying it out in the nets
Smith will now consider whether to wear the stem-guard protection on the back of his neck that is now common at the highest level after the death of Hughes but admits he finds the protective equipment uncomfortable.
He was trying it out in the Derbyshire nets on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s match. ‘I’ve tried them before and I tried them the other day when I was batting and I reckon my heart rate went up by 30 or 40 straight away,’ said Smith.
‘I just felt claustrophobic. I compare it to being stuck in an MRI scan machine.
‘It was different but I think at some point they will become compulsory so I will have to get used to them. And I’m sure the more I wear them, the more I practise in them, my heart rate will come down and everything will be OK.’
Australia sprang a surprise when they named their side to face Derbyshire in the tour match when they brought World Cup wicketkeeper Alex Carey into the squad from his spell with Sussex.
The tourists said it was to give captain Tim Paine a rest but Australia already had another experienced keeper, Matthew Wade, in their squad and this move can only increase the pressure on a leader who is struggling to justify his place in the side.
Nathan Lyon, who fumbled the run out of Jack Leach in the third Test that would have won Australia the Ashes, misses out after twisting his ankle in practice.