‘Hopefully we can bat big to get a big lead’: England’s Sam Curran aims to finish Ashes on a high

THE OVAL — Sam Curran believes England are in a strong position to end the Ashes on a high after helping his side establish a lead of 78 and 10 second-innings wickets remaining.

“I think it’s huge,” said Curran, who is making his first appearance of the series. “It was great for Burns and Denly to get through the evening, and hopefully we can bat big to get a big lead.

“There’s a lot of rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump for the left-arm spinner Leachy [Jack Leach], and I’m sure it’s going to keep turning as the game goes on.

“It’s really dry and I think if we can bat for as long as possible and get a big lead we can put some pressure on them second innings.” Curran felt England had bowled well to dismiss Australia for just 225, 69 runs shy of England. “As a group it was pretty good,” Curran added. “Hopefully the sun will be shining again tomorrow and we can get some nice runs on the board.”

Sam Curran erupted across the Oval like a starburst with three wickets in the late afternoon
Sam Curran erupted across the Oval like a starburst with three wickets in the late afternoon (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty)

High hopes

Surrey swing bowler Curran is relishing finally making an appearance – at his home ground, no less – after being in the squad for the four previous Tests.

“Being in all the squads has helped me keep up the level of intensity,” Curran said. “I’ve not had many county games and it’s been quite hard going from the Test squad to T20.

“But leading up to this game I thought I was going to be involved and I upped my overs.”

‘If we can bat for as long as possible and get a big lead we can put some pressure on them in the second innings’

Sam Curran

Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne said Australia still wanted to win the series outright despite their relatively poor performance.

“The intensity definitely has not dropped,” he said. “It’s hard to say that when our play on the field maybe reflects that. But we came to win the Ashes and we really want to do that. We don’t want to just retain the Ashes.”

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Ashes 2019: End of the road gets closer for Chris Woakes after he sent down 10 overs for 51 runs

THE OVAL — Chris Woakes may have taken the prized wicket of Steve Smith on an eventful second day of this Fifth Ashes Test, yet that cannot mask the overall performance of a bowler who looks like he is entering the final furlong of his England career.

The decision to drop the 30-year-old for the previous Test in favour of Craig Overton drew much criticism. After all, wouldn’t Woakes, who had bowled well in the opening two Tests, cause the Australians more trouble with his ability to swing the ball than a medium-pace, hit-the-deck merchant in Overton?

Yet perhaps the selectors were right all along to discard Woakes – though not in also overlooking Sam Curran at Old Trafford – given the way he shaped up. Out of rhythm and sending down far too many loose balls, Woakes looked badly out of sorts on a day where he sent down 10 overs for the cost of 51 runs. The delivery that did for Smith was unremarkable – a straight ball the latter-day Don Bradman clone remarkably missed. Woakes got lucky. Like someone who wins the jackpot on a Las Vegas slot machine on their first go after the previous player had put $500 into it, he cashed in on the fine work earlier in the session from Curran and Jofra Archer.

That pair are the future of this England Test team’s bowling attack, Archer’s second six-wicket haul of the series and Curran’s superb spell that put him on a hat-trick in the evening session lighting up this match. Woakes, with his terrible overseas record and chronic injury to his right knee, appears very much yesterday’s man.

‘Physically struggling’

Chris Woakes gave up 51 runs in just 10 overs in an expensive day
Chris Woakes gave up 51 runs in just 10 overs in an expensive day (Photo: Alex Davidson/Getty)

Despite the fact he is seven years younger than James Anderson and three the junior to Stuart Broad, Woakes just doesn’t fit into any England attack when both that pair, Mark Wood and Curran and Archer, too, are available.

One of the chief complaints about England’s attack on the last Ashes tour in 2017-18 was that the quartet of right-arm medium-fast bowlers in Woakes, Anderson, Broad and Overton was way too one-dimensional.

Woakes can be a brilliant bowler when the ball swings. But unless you’re in England or New Zealand, that rarely happens. That’s why his overseas bowling average is a staggering 61.77 and at home it’s 23.18.

Woakes is clearly physically struggling and not at the top of his game. And as good a servant as he has been over the years, now should be the time to cut the cord and look to others to move this Test team forward.

Archer gives England hope

Sam Curran erupted across the Oval like a starburst with three wickets in the late afternoon
Sam Curran erupted across the Oval like a starburst with three wickets in the late afternoon (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty)

Chief among them will be Archer and Curran. Quite how the selectors have overlooked Curran – a player who turned his debut series against India last summer – until now is anybody’s guess.

There also needs to be caution over Archer because as brilliant as his six wickets were, that he bowled 23.5 overs in a day to get them raises further fears over his workload.

This after all, is the 24-year-old’s first summer of international cricket and having already been forced to play through a side strain during the World Cup, England risk burning out their brightest talent.

The ends may justify the means in this particular Test if England go on to win. But as Woakes would no doubt testify, international cricket can be a slog so to write cheques your body can’t cash, especially at the start of your career, is a dangerous game.

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The new Cook? England have many problems but at least Rory Burns has solved one of them

THE OVAL — Rory Burns won’t always win points for artistic merit but England can now be confident they have a Test opener who can hold his own against the very best.

For that’s exactly what Burns has done during this Ashes series, his doughty 47 on day one of this fifth Test at his home ground of The Oval further evidence he can be a long-term success where so many others have failed.

The manner of the 29-year-old’s dismissal on Thursday – caught top-edging a mistimed pull shot – was ugly. But what went before it, especially during a 76-run second-wicket stand with captain Joe Root, showed the substance of a player who is seemingly getting better at this level with every innings.

Burns may not have added to the three fifty-plus scores he has already made in this series – including that maiden century in the first Test at Edgbaston.

Yet his average so far against one of the best attacks in the world is 41.11. That would be an impressive figure in any series but even more so in this one, where opening batsmen have struggled so acutely.

The new Cook?

In terms of England’s other openers in this series, Jason Roy averaged 13, Joe Denly 28.50. The three men Australia have used at the top of the order have fared even worse, so much so that when you add together the series averages of David Warner (9.87), Cameron Bancroft (11) and Marcus Harris (11.50) it is still way less than Burns’ average.

Historically, too, Burns is having an exceptional series. If he scores seven runs or more in his second innings here he will have scored the most runs by an England opener in an Ashes series since Alastair Cook’s freakish return of 766 on the 2010-11 tour of Australia.

Indeed, Cook, England’s all-time leading runscorer, only had two better Ashes series than Burns is currently enjoying – that triumphant trip Down Under nine years ago and the last one in the winter of 2017-18, when he scored 376 overall.

Like Cook, Burns is a flinty, left-hander who grinds down the opposition. Like Cook, he is also picking up the habit of finding a way to score runs by whatever means necessary.

Quick turnaround

Read more: Ashes 2021-22: How new-look England could line up down under

Burns is just 12 Tests into his England career but he has grown during this Ashes summer. Coming into the series on the back of two single-figure score against Ireland, he was devoid of form and confidence and close to being dropped.

But the 133 he made in England’s first innings at Edgbaston has launched his career. That knock was ugly – Burns playing and missing more than 30 times. But he showed character and a mental toughness to fight through – another similarity with Cook. He has improved since, the awkward technique still there but the false shots fewer and the sweet ones – such as the cover drive off Peter Siddle shortly after lunch yesterday that saw him move onto 46 – more numerous now.

Indeed, in an Ashes series that has ultimately ended in failure for England, Burns has been a genuine bright spot.

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England’s ruthlessness with Jason Roy provides a warning shot to other players

England have wielded the axe following the defeat at Old Trafford that saw the dream of regaining the Ashes go up in smoke, with Jason Roy the sacrificial lamb following his horrendous series with the bat.

Roy’s fate was sealed by the shoulder injury to Ben Stokes that sees him selected for this final Test against Australia at The Oval as a specialist batsman. Stokes was put through his paces in the nets, bowling several deliveries but ultimately England decided the all-rounder was not fit enough to justify his place in the team as the fourth seamer.

It means a batsman had to make way for Sam Curran. The decision to ditch Roy was a no-brainer considering he was averaging 13.75 in the series. Starting out as an opener following a fine World Cup in the same position, Roy was moved down to No4 for the fourth Test in Manchester after consistently failing to deal with the new ball.

Despite a top-score of 31 in that match, it was not enough to save the Surrey batsman from being dropped at his home ground. “Jason has had an opportunity to come in and play Test cricket and it has not gone quite how he would have liked,” said captain Joe Root. “But I’m sure he will go away and work extremely hard and come again. That is what you expect of guys when they get left out. I’m sure he will have that attitude and want to try and prove a point and get himself back into the side.”

Josh Hazlewood celebrates taking Jason Roy for nine
Josh Hazlewood celebrates taking Jason Roy for nine (Photo: Stu Forster/Getty)

Long road back

Despite Root’s encouraging words, Roy faces a long road back and it appears likely his white-ball commitments mean he will never play enough red-ball cricket for Surrey to ever make a compelling case for a Test recall. Yet the ruthlessness England have shown in ditching Roy before the end of the series should provide a warning shot to several other players.

Craig Overton was also dropped for this final Test after being picked in favour of Chris Woakes for Manchester. That particular selection error has been corrected for this Test.

The decision to discard Roy also means everyone in the middle order moves up one position – so Stokes will bat at four, Jonny Bairstow five and Jos Buttler six.

While Stokes’ place is obviously safe, life appears less certain for both Bairstow and Buttler.

Joe Root believes individual performances let England down in this Ashes series (Photo: Reuters)

Warning shot for England

Indeed, other than opener Rory Burns, Root, Stokes, Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad, nobody’s place in this England Test team should be safe.

Buttler especially can count himself fortunate to remain given he has also performed poorly with the bat in this Ashes series, failing to score more than 41 and averaging just 16.25.

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James Anderson: ‘Flat, Australia-friendly pitches cost England the Ashes’

He will likely be rested for the two Tests in New Zealand in November after a busy summer that also saw him play a key role in England’s World Cup win.

But the four-match series in South Africa starting on Boxing Day could prove the tipping point in Buttler’s England career – especially as there is a ready-made replacement at No6 in Ollie Pope.

Bairstow’s future

Bairstow, too, has underperformed in this series and the balance of this team for The Oval – with everyone shunted up a place – means the path will be clear once Stokes is fully fit and able to bowl again for Ben Foakes to come in at No7 and take the wicket-keeping gloves from Bairstow as he did so impressively when he was named man of the series in Sri Lanka last winter.

Bairstow needs runs at No5 in this Test and if he succeeds, it may well convince the selectors his Test future lies as a specialist batsman.

For Root and England, there is still a chance they can draw this series 2-2 with victory over the next five days. There hasn’t been a drawn Ashes since 1972 but there should be enough motivation within the England camp to try and buck that trend.

“You are playing for your country, that’s the fundamentals of it,” said Root. “However you motivate yourself whether it’s getting yourself on a winter tour or trying to get yourself a hundred or five-fer, I think it’s really important to harness that this week and take it forward.”

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Ashes 2021-22: How new-look England could line up down under

It is just over two years until England travel to Australia for the next Ashes series. But what will their team look like for the first Test at the Gabba in November 2021?

It is difficult to predict as there are so many variables to consider – including who the new coach will be once Trevor Bayliss departs at the end of this current series.

However, we can have an educated guess about the personnel who may be tasked with winning back the urn on that trip.

Everything being equal – and injuries aside – it looks certain England will have Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer in the XI. Root probably will still be captain despite two fruitless Ashes series so far leading the team, including that 4-0 hammering in the winter of 2017-18. Stokes, England’s all-round talisman, will also be there, while Archer’s impressive first summer on the international scene will make him the probable leader of the attack on that tour.

By then Root should be batting back at his preferred position of No 4. The three men above him in the order is a tough one to predict but Rory Burns, who has had an impressive Ashes summer, would likely remain as opener alongside perhaps Kent’s Zak Crawley. Joe Denly will be 35 by then and almost certainly out of the team. Crawley, 21, is highly-rated by England and it would be hoped either he or Dominic Sibley, the leading opener in county cricket this summer, will be established by 2021.

Bairstow promoted, Roy and Buttler axed

Jonny Bairstow, shorn of the wicket-keeping gloves, would get my vote at No 3, especially as he scored a century from that position in the final Test of last winter’s tour of Sri Lanka in Colombo. Stokes would be at five in the order with Ollie Pope at No 6. I think under the new regime – or by 2021 at least – it will be accepted that Jason Roy and Jos Buttler are not Test-class batsmen.

Pope has already played two Tests and was on the brink of a call-up for this current series. At six he can prove why he is regarded as the best young batsmen in England.

Ben Foakes, the best keeper in the country and a man who scored a century on his Test debut in Sri Lanka last year, then gets the gloves at No 7.

With James Anderson and Stuart Broad likely to have retired by the next Ashes, Archer will lead the bowling attack. Alongside him will be Mark Wood – if he can stay fit – and Olly Stone. That would offer England three men who can bowl in excess of 90 miles per hour – crucial to success on flat Australian pitches. Jack Leach, too, gets in as the specialist spinner.

Chris Woakes, who will be 32 by 2021, Sam Curran, Lancashire’s young quick Saqib Mahmood and Somerset’s Jamie Overton – quicker than twin brother Craig – are bowlers who could also be in the squad.

But who knows who else might force their way in by the time ­England embark on that next Ashes tour?

Stocks’s England XI for Ashes 2021-22

Rory Burns

Zak Crawley

Jonny Bairstow

Joe Root (c)

Ben Stokes

Ollie Pope

Ben Foakes (wk)

Jofra Archer

Jack Leach

Mark Wood

Olly Stone

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James Anderson: ‘Flat, Australia-friendly pitches cost England the Ashes’

THE OVAL — James Anderson has criticised the flat pitches during this summer’s Ashes series, insisting they have played into Australia’s hands and prompting him to ask: “Why don’t we use home advantage?”

England’s all-time leading wicket-taker bowled just four overs of the opening Test in this summer’s Ashes after being struck down with a calf injury. Australia, who won the last series Down Under, have gone on to retain the urn after taking a 2-1 lead ahead of this week’s final Test at the Oval.

But Anderson, 37, insists that unlike the 2015 home Ashes, when England were assisted by green, seam-friendly surfaces and won 3-2, Joe Root’s team have been let down by the groundsmen this summer.

‘It doesn’t seem right’

Asked if he thought the pitches had given enough assistance to ­England during the series, Anderson replied: “Not really if we’re being brutally honest. I think they’ve probably suited Australia more than us. I would have liked to have seen a bit more grass but that’s the nature of the game here.

“When you’re selling out – like Lancashire selling out five days of Test cricket – it’s hard not to produce a flat deck but that’s one of the frustrations from a player’s point of view. We go to Australia and get pitches that suit them. They come over here and get pitches that suit them. It doesn’t seem quite right.

“We as a country or cricket team, cricket board, don’t use home advantage enough. As I said when you go to Australia, go to India, Sri Lanka, they prepare pitches that suit them. I feel like we could just be a little bit more biased towards our own team.”

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James Anderson considers going vegan to prolong his England career to 40

James Anderson has admitted he will consider going vegan in an attempt to extend his England career into his late thirties.

Anderson, 37, has missed almost all of the current Ashes series with the calf injury he sustained in the opening Test against Australia at Edgbaston last month.

England’s all-time leading wicket-taker this week insisted he wants to carry on playing until the age of 40.

And he is investigating a number of ways of keeping his body in shape to do just that – including moving to an exclusively plant-based diet.

Siddle’s banana inspiration

Australia bowler Peter Siddle, who famously eats up to 20 bananas a day, is cricket’s most prominent vegan.

But a number of other sports stars have attributed a plant-based diet to higher levels of performance, including American football quarter-back Tom Brady, who is still playing for New England Patriots at the age of 42.

Formula One star Lewis Hamilton and Tennessee Titans NFL team also swear by a vegan diet and both are featured in a new documentary – The Game Changers – that chronicles the rise in popularity of plant-based eating among athletes.

‘My wife’s not keen#

Now Anderson, once described as having “the worst diet of any professional athlete I know” by former team-mate Graeme Swann, is considering following the trend.

“I actually have chatted it through with my wife –she’s not keen,” he said. “There’s a documentary coming out, The Game Changers. You might be interested in this, it’s about Lewis Hamilton. I’m open-minded. I’ll give anything a go if it prolongs my career.

“I’m going to try and investigate every possible avenue of what I need to do at my age to keep myself in good shape. I feel as fit as I ever have. It’s just the calf keeps twanging. I’ll look at how other sportspeople have done it throughout their careers to keep going into their late 30s.

“I’ll see whether there’s anything specific I can do – diet, gym programme, supplements, whatever it might be – because I’ve still got a real hunger and desire to play cricket.

“I still feel like I can be the best bowler in the world. As long as I’ve got that mentality I’m going to try to find every possible thing to help me stay fit.”

‘Ashes a big disappointment’

Anderson is refusing to put a time-frame on his return but the tour of New Zealand, which ends with two Tests in late November, is on his radar. “Yes, that would be great if I’m fit for that,” he said. “If not, then South Africa would be next on the list. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

As for how he has felt watching England, 2-1 down ahead of this week’s final Test at The Oval, fail to regain the Ashes in his absence, Anderson said: “It’s just a big disappointment, the whole thing for me. You can beat yourself up – if I was playing it might have been a different outcome? But if you dwell on that, you send yourself crazy, so I’m going to try and look to the future.”

James Anderson was speaking on behalf of ‘The Test Experts’ Specsavers, Official Test Partner of the England cricket team

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Jason Roy is averaging 13.75 in this Ashes series – his Test career is on the line at the Oval

OLD TRAFFORD — Despite the fight, England left Manchester defeated, with the Ashes gone and several players wondering what the future holds in terms of their Test careers.

Among those, Jason Roy would probably have been the most pensive having failed again to convince he has what it takes to succeed at Test level despite being moved down the order to No4 after a harrowing four-match baptism as an opener.

Winning often masks a multitude of sins – just look at the inaction from England’s selectors after they burgled the third Test of this series at Headingley last month.

Yet that’s nothing new. Ian Bell avoided the axe in the afterglow of England’s memorable 2005 Ashes win despite only averaging 17 with the bat in that series.

No hiding place

However, in the aftermath of defeat, there is no hiding place for those who are underperforming. And to deny Roy is doing that is to deny cold, hard reality.

As brilliant as the Surrey batsman is in one-day cricket, a format where he averages 42.79 and is among the best openers in the world, he has struggled to transfer that form across to Test cricket.

A different coloured ball that moves a lot more, a lack of fielding restrictions, pitches that aren’t routinely as flat as the M25 and deteriorate over five days all contribute to the far greater challenge of batting in Test cricket.

Roy has struggled, even if his demotion to the middle order did see him make his highest score of the series on the final day of this match. The fact that was 31 tells you all you need to know about his current form.

Defence lets him down

After four Tests – albeit against a fine attack – he is averaging 13.75 with the bat. To put that into context, that is less then every England player other than Stuart Broad averaged during last summer’s five-Test series against India. This really has been a dreadful series for Roy.

Yet the most worrying thing is that he looks ill-equipped technique-wise to deal with high-calibre Test bowling. More than anything it is his defence, that lets Roy down.

On the final day of this fourth Test he was bowled through the gate by the excellent Pat Cummins. It was the fifth time in 10 innings he has been bowled so far in his Test career – a 50 per cent hit rate. Way too high.

Something special needed

The good news for Roy is he will have home comforts for the final Test of the series at The Oval this week. At 29, it is surely now or never for a player who will be fighting for his very future as a Test cricketer in that match.

If he fails again, he is destined to join Australia’s Aaron Finch (27.80 average from five matches) and Alex Hales (27.28 from 11) as limited-overs titans who could not make it as Test batsmen.

It will take something special this week from Roy – average 18.70 after five Tests – to convince the doubters, and the selectors, he can succeed where that pair failed.

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Joe Root insists he is right man to lead England as Ashes defeat raises questions over captaincy

OLD TRAFFORD — Joe Root insists he is still the best man to lead England’s Test team despite the defeat at Old Trafford that saw Australia retain the Ashes with a match to spare.

An emotional Root was asked about his position as captain in the aftermath of the 185-run loss that saw England go 2-1 down in the series ahead of this week’s final Test at The Oval.

It means Australia, who won the 2017-18 Ashes 4-0 at home, will leave the UK with the urn for the first time in 18 years after successive defeats in 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2015.

England can at least deny Tim Paine’s team the prize of Australia’s first away Ashes series triumph since 2001 if they win the final Test, which starts on Thursday.

But with the urn gone for England, the questions about where it all went wrong and Root’s future have started.

‘It hurts’

Asked if he still felt he could take this team forward, Root said: “Definitely yes. I have been given a fantastic opportunity to captain the Test side and will continue to work very hard at doing my best at that. That is in my control and I have to make sure I keep getting this team in the best shape to win as many games as possible.

“Whenever you lose a series it hurts. I have to take that on the chin. You have to look at areas you want to get better at both in yourself and as a team.

“Importantly I have to look at next week. We have an important Test match against Australia. We have to make sure we finish this summer strong. We do not want to lose this Ashes series.

“It is still very raw. We have still got stuff to play for in this series so we have to make sure that is the full focus and make sure we give one last push in a big summer for us and come away with a win.”

‘Individual performances cost us’

After the miracle of Headingley, when Ben Stokes hit an unbeaten 135 to get England over the line in a dramatic one-wicket win, the fight showed by Root’s team on the final day in Manchester, when they took this Test down to the final 13.3 overs, offered hope of another shock result.

“You turn up to an Ashes series you put everything you can into it,” said Root. “You leave everything out not he field. Everyone has done that. At times we have not been at our absolute best. We have played a very good side that has performed well in these conditions. Look at the Test matches and there have been times when one guy has made a difference and that has probably cost us the urn this time around.”

That one man is Steve Smith whose double hundred and then second-innings 82 at Old Trafford took his runs tally to 671 in just three Tests in his first series since returning from a year-long ball-tampering ban.

Australia captain Tim Paine said: “Steve is the best player I have ever seen. He showed that again in this Test match. He’s just a genius. The scary thing is he’s getting better.”

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England player ratings vs Australia: Ashes 2019 4th Test at Old Trafford

Rory Burns 7/10

Gritty first-innings 81 and averaging above 40 in this series, no mean feat against this attack, despite a second-innings duck.

Joe Denly 7/10

Showed true guts to fight his way to a second-innings half-century that justified his move up to open the batting.

Joe Root 6/10

Again missed out on converting a half-century in the first innings. Golden duck second time around. Captaincy uninspiring in field.

Jason Roy 5/10

Made 22 and 31 – his highest score of the series – after moving down from opener to No 4. Defensive technique still vulnerable.

Ben Stokes 4/10

Wicket-less and made just 22 runs overall. Shoulder injury a mitigating factor and he can’t bail his team-mates out every match.

Jonny Bairstow 4/10

At least he scored fifty, just a shame it was across both innings. Not a great return for a No.6.

Jos Buttler 6/10

Brave second-innings rearguard made Australia work and batted well for 41 in the first innings before running out of partners.

Craig Overton 6/10

Showed great character with the bat on the final day but does not look Test class with the ball.

Jofra Archer 6/10

Came back well with three wickets in Australia’s second innings after appearing broken and down on pace in the first.

Stuart Broad 8/10

Excellent and still England’s leading wicket-taker in this series with 19. His five here were scant reward for his performance.

Jack Leach 6/10

Bowled well overall, even if his figures took a pasting when Australia put their foot to the floor setting up the declaration.

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Ashes 2019: Ben Stokes injury scare gives England jitters after huge Steve Smith total leaves them battling to save fourth Test

England suffered an injury scare to talisman Ben Stokes on a day that ended with Joe Root’s team fighting to save this fourth Ashes Test following another batting masterclass from Steve Smith.

Smith’s 211 helped Australia post an imposing first-innings 497 for eight declared on day two in Manchester. England then closed on 23 for one after they lost Joe Denly, who made four after being moved up from No 4 to opener in place of Jason Roy.

But it is the injury to Stokes’ right shoulder that will worry England after the all-rounder left the field for treatment and did not bowl in the final 35 overs of Australia’s innings.

Stokes scored an unbeaten 135 with the bat to inspire England’s series-levelling win at Headingley in the third Test but his efforts with the ball were also key in that miraculous one-wicket triumph.

It is understood England are not ruling anything in or out in terms of whether Stokes, their vice-captain, will be able to bowl again at Old Trafford. Yet with just three days in between this match and the final Test at The Oval next week, his injury – described as “soreness” by England – is far from ideal.

England wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow said: “I’ve not spoken to the physio or the doc about it. He came back on the field. As far as I’m concerned if it was very, very serious he wouldn’t have retaken the field. We know what a character Ben is, how strong he is mentally and physically. I’m sure it’ll be assessed overnight but as of this moment in time I genuinely don’t know [how bad it is].”

‘We’ll be sticking to the plans we’ve got’

Bairstow also praised Smith, who now has three centuries in this series and 11 against England overall.

“I’m not sure we’re the only team around the world who’ve tried a few different plans against him,” he said. “We’ll be sticking to the plans we’ve got. On another day we get him out slightly earlier.”

England should have done just that yesterday, Smith dropped on 65 by Jofra Archer and given a reprieve on 118 when he was caught by Stokes off a Jack Leach no-ball.

“A no-ball is a no-ball, no-one means to bowl one or drop catches,” said Bairstow. “It’s not the first dismissal there’s been off a no-ball and it won’t be the last.”

On the overall match situation, Bairstow added: “There’s three innings still to go in the game. If we can go out and apply ourselves tomorrow, set out stall out to bat for a long period of time like we did in the second innings at Headingley there’s no reason why we can’t turn it around.”

Read more: Ashes 2019: England bowlers sleepwalk through demoralising second day as Anderson sorely missed

Smith, ruled out of Headingley with concussion after he was hit at Lord’s by an Archer bouncer, admitted England’s tactic to bowl short at him played into his hands.

“I said before this game if they’re bowling up at my head and not at the stumps they can’t get me lbw or caught behind the wicket. That played in our favour. For them to go as short as they did as early as they did played into our hands.”

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Ashes 2019: England bowlers sleepwalk through demoralising second day as James Anderson sorely missed

So heartbroken was James Anderson at missing the final two matches of this Ashes series through injury that he went on holiday to the Mediterranean rather than have to watch this fourth Test at his home ground.

Anderson’s crushing feeling of disappointment was no doubt shared by his England teammates as they sleepwalked through a demoralising and error-strewn afternoon session on this second day that appears to have decisively tipped the balance of this match – and the series – in Australia’s favour.

By now you probably know the details of that wicket-less and soul-destroying session for England that saw Steve Smith reprieved after being caught off a Jack Leach no-ball and Tim Paine, up to this point Australia’s non-scoring wicketkeeper-batsman and captain, dropped twice before reaching 50.

Overton underwhelms

In a parallel universe Anderson would have been fully recovered from the calf injury that has dogged him this summer and tearing in from the end at Old Trafford that bears his name. Instead we were forced to endure the underwhelming figure of Craig Overton taking his mark from the James Anderson End.

Overton may have finagled the wicket of Paine eventually. Yet the Somerset yeoman’s limitations were cast in even starker perspective by the absence of England’s all-time record wicket-taker in Manchester.

Speaking before this Test, Stuart Broad, a man who has stepped up impressively in his close friend and bowling partner’s absence, admitted: “I had in my mind the idea that it was almost written in the stars that he would be back and open the bowling at the James Anderson End and bowl us to victory. But that’s not going to happen.”

Replacing Anderson with Overton, who has played just three Tests and wasn’t even on the selection radar this summer before last week, is akin to taking your Porsche into the dealership for repairs and being handed the keys to a Reliant Robin as your courtesy car.

Read more: Ashes 2019: Australia make early inroads at Ice Station Old Trafford as Steve Smith digs in once again

That’s not being overly critical of Overton. After all, the 25-year-old’s effort can never be faulted and he may yet make a decisive contribution for England in this Test with the bat.

But the quality gap between him and Anderson is stark and that was perfectly illustrated during this demoralising day.

Unlucky injuries

Up until now, England had managed to stumble their way through this series without the leader of their attack and still emerge level at 1-1 after three Tests.

Yet they have badly missed a man with 575 wickets over the first two days of this match and the possible alternative scenarios, where Anderson didn’t break down four overs into the series opener at Edgbaston, make things all the more painful for both the man himself and England. No wonder he decided to leave the country.

As well as Broad has bowled in this series and the fact a new star in Jofra Archer has been unearthed, England have been incredibly unlucky with injury to bowlers this summer.

As well as Anderson, the absence of Mark Wood – working at Old Trafford for BBC radio – has also been a bad loss for England. Like Archer, Wood is capable of bowling above 90mph on a regular basis. In fact, he was even quicker than Archer during the World Cup.

Wood, though, is even more experienced and would have been a valuable weapon for captain Joe Root against the Australians in this series.

Yet Wood, who bar for the first match was an ever-present figure during England’s World Cup win, succumbed to knee and side injuries after the tournament. Wood’s history of injury problems are extensive. Yet that makes his absence no less damaging.

Read more: Ashes 2019: Advantage Australia as Jofra Archer seems to run out of gas against Steve Smith

Olly Stone, the young Warwickshire pace bowler struck down by back injuries since being called up by England last winter, is another genuine quick who may have figured this summer.

However, the more subtle skills of Anderson – arguably the greatest swing bowler in history – have far and away been the most significant loss from this series for England.

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Ashes 2019: Craig Overton says Jofra Archer will be ‘raring to go’ after tough day against Australia

Craig Overton has revealed the cheeky sledge to Marnus Labuschagne that followed his first home Test wicket – a dismissal England hope will spark their revival in this fourth Ashes Test.

The 25-year-old Somerset seamer made the only breakthrough for Joe Root’s team during a stop-start second half of the day in Manchester, his wicket of Labuschagne seeing Australia reach a premature close on 170 for three.

Labuschagne, who made 67, was eventually bowled by Overton, who was playing his first Test in England having played three away from home in Australia and New Zealand during the winter of 2017-18.

And the fact it was his inswinger that did for Labuschagne made the wicket – his eighth in Tests overall – all the sweeter on a windy day at Old Trafford.

‘Make sure you keep an eye on it’

“The over before Marnus cut me for four thinking it was the inswinger, but I told him it wasn’t,” Overton said. “Then I bowled him the inswinger and it came out nice, worked out quite well. It wasn’t a send off or anything when I got him out, it was just saying: ‘That one was the inswinger, make sure you keep an eye on it.’

“It was a frustrating day for us, conditions didn’t really suit running into bowl but we stuck at it pretty well. We felt like we can come back tomorrow with a positive attitude and try to make a difference, get someone to stand up and be the man to get conditions back in our favour.”

Ben Stokes, whose brilliant unbeaten 135 in the previous Test at Headingley helped England to a miraculous win that levelled the series, has been the man for the hosts in this series so far.

But Steve Smith, the Australia batsman finishing the day unbeaten on 60, has been the defining figure for the tourists and an eighth successive 50-plus Ashes score is threatening to take this Test away from England.

Read more: Australia make early inroads at Ice Station Old Trafford as Steve Smith digs in once again

Smith missed the last match in Leeds with concussion and Overton knows his wicket will be key on day two.

“He’s obviously a world-class player,” he said. “He’s always going to be difficult but we’ve got our plans and we’ll try to keep going to them. Hopefully we get him out tomorrow.”

‘Archer will be raring to go’

Jofra Archer was noticeably down on pace on the first day in Manchester but Overton says it’s not a worry for England.

Read more: Advantage Australia as Jofra Archer seems to run out of gas against Steve Smith

“I don’t think so,” he said. “We all tended to struggle with the wind, I wouldn’t look too much into it. He’ll be raring to go and coming again tomorrow, firing in and bowling as quick as he can. Hopefully taking a few wickets as well.”

As for the overall match situation, Overton admitted: “We’re probably slightly behind but we felt the conditions weren’t quite with us today, with the wind etc. We come back in the morning, get a couple of early ones and we’ll be right back in the game.”

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Ashes 2019: Advantage Australia as Jofra Archer seems to run out of gas against Steve Smith

The moment Jofra Archer struck Steve Smith on the fourth day of the Lord’s Test always felt key in this series and so it has proved. The only problem for England is it now looks like a passage of play that has paved the way for Australia to retain the Ashes.

Smith’s eventual diagnosis of concussion following that 92 mph blow on the neck from Archer led to Marnus Labuschagne being parachuted in Australia’s brittle batting line-up.

Indeed, Labuschagne has not looked back since becoming international cricket’s first concussion substitute, starting off with 59 at Lord’s and then following up with scores of 74, 80 at Headingley and 67 on day one in Manchester. The South African-born batsman now has an average of 70 in a series he wasn’t even expected to play in when it began. His move from four to three upon Smith’s return to the team at Old Trafford has also been seamless and the 116-run stand the pair shared for Australia’s third wicket did much to kill any momentum England had hoped to take into this Test from their dramatic win at Headingley.

England bowlers at a loss

With Usman Khawaja dropped to make way for Smith’s return, Australia have stumbled on a combination at numbers three and four that has added to steel to an otherwise shaky batting order. It may be a combination that helps them over the line in this series, especially as England’s bowling attack looked so anaemic as a collective on the first day of this Test.

Aside from Stuart Broad’s excellent opening spell, England largely bowled poorly, despite the mitigating factor of the high winds that must have made finding rhythm difficult. Most worrying was the performance of Archer, who appears to be flagging towards the tail end of a momentous first summer as an international player.

Read more: Joe Root explains why England selected Craig Overton in place of Chris Woakes

Archer was noticeably down on pace in the previous Test in Leeds but that appeared more because he was bowling to the conditions – and his first-innings six-wicket haul backed up that school of thought.

At Old Trafford, though, he was even slower, a top speed of 89mph far from sluggish but still way down on the spell-binding 90mph-plus spell during his duel with Smith at Lord’s.

Workload catching up with Archer?

The excitement over Archer after that Test was understandable. But so too is the fact he is now appearing to run out of gas. The 24-year-old bowler has carried a monumental workload this summer, his heroics in the World Cup – a tournament he was nursed through with a side strain – and in his opening two Tests in this series surely now finally catching up with him.

The anticipation of his duel with Smith in Manchester was high. The reality, though, was rather underwhelming, even if Archer did initially crank up his pace at the very beginning.

Read more: Australia make early inroads at Ice Station Old Trafford as Steve Smith digs in once again

Archer may well come back and confound everyone over the remainder of this match – England have been good at doing that this summer.

But after one day of this match, it appears advantage Smith, Labuschagne and Australia – rather than Archer and England – in the battle for the Ashes.

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Tim Paine admits Ben Stokes has given him sleepless nights ahead of fourth Ashes test at Old Trafford

Australia captain Tim Paine has refuted claims from England’s Jofra Archer that his team choked at Headingley but did admit Ben Stokes has given him sleepless nights ahead of the fourth Test that starts in Manchester on Wednesday.

Paine conceded he made mistakes in the field in the closing stages of the third Test in Leeds, when Stokes hit a brilliant unbeaten 135 to guide England to an improbable win that levelled the series at 1-1 with two to play.

The conclusion to that match saw many accuse the Australians of choking, with Archer insisting he thought the tourists would be mentally shot for the rest of the series after “panicking” at Headingley.

‘Jofra’s entitled to his opinion’

Jofra Archer
Jofra Archer has accused Australia of ‘bottling’ the third Test (Photo: Getty)

But Paine, whose mediocre batting so far in the series has put his own place under severe pressure, hit back at claims of choking, saying: “Jofra’s entitled to his opinion, he’s had plenty of those that’s for sure. But we made some mistakes, it happens, we’ve addressed it as a team, we’ve spoken about it honestly. I was certainly one of those people who made mistakes, it happens in cricket, we’ve moved on and we’re here ready for a great Test match.”

Asked specifically if he had a problem with Archer, the fast bowler who has 13 wickets in his first three Tests, Paine, who averages just 12.83 in this series, said: “Not at all. Just that, as I said, I was told a few things when I was down in Derby [for Australia’s tour match last week] – I haven’t actually seen the quotes –but, yeah, talk is talk and we are here to play this Test match. What’s happened in the past has happened and Jofra is entitled to his opinion. As I said, it doesn’t faze us one way or another.”

‘Stokes has made me lose sleep’

Ben Stokes of England celebrates hitting the winning runs to win the 3rd Specsavers Ashes Test match between England and Australia
Ben Stokes celebrates hitting the winning runs at Headingley (Getty Images)

Yet one thing that does faze the Australians is Stokes, whose Headingley heroics have kept Paine up at night over the past week. “I haven’t lost a hell of a lot of sleep thinking about my captaincy,” he said. “But I have lost a bit of sleep thinking how we’re going to get him [Stokes] out, that’s for sure.

“He’s a class player and he’s really confident at the moment. He’s going well. We’ve got some plans for him but we’ve just got to execute them a bit better. As I said post Test match, I think Nathan Lyon has actually bowled really well to him. He’s created a number of chances each time he’s bowled to him.”

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Ashes 2019: Joe Root explains why Craig Overton selected for England in place of Chris Woakes

Joe Root has cited Craig Overton’s character and the extra bounce his 6’4 frame can generate at Old Trafford as the primary reasons for the decision to include him in England’s team for the fourth Test.

England had hoped to welcome back James Anderson, their all-time leading wicket-taker, in Manchester. Instead, with Anderson, 37, ruled out for the rest of the series with a calf injury, it is the underwhelming figure of Overton who has come into the XI in place of Chris Woakes for this must-win contest.

The Somerset bowler played the last of his three Tests against New Zealand in Auckland 18 months ago. He had started his career in the 2017-18 Ashes series in Australia, making his debut at Adelaide and claiming Steve Smith as his first wicket.

Yet Overton’s stats – seven Test wickets at 42.28 – make for ordinary reading and the decision to call upon a player who has lost 100 per cent of his England Tests so far is baffling.

‘A different option’

Sam Curran, the left-arm seamer who lit up his debut series against India last summer with bat and ball, must be in a terrible run of form having been overlooked this time.

Read more: The end for James Anderson? Don’t write that stubborn so and so off just yet

Root, though, is comfortable with Overton’s inclusion. “The extra bounce of a taller bowler gives us a different option on a ground that does perform slightly differently,” he said. “It will balance our attack really well in these conditions.

“He’s a competitor. You saw him come into Ashes cricket on debut and looked very much at home and got himself in a battle. I expect him to do that again this week. He’s got good control, good skills, moves the ball off the straight and I expect him to cause some issues for the Australian batters.”

‘It’s not gone how we’d have liked’

Root also defended the decision to swap Jason Roy and Joe Denly around in the batting order, with the former moving down to No4 and the latter promoted to open alongside Rory Burns in Manchester despite scoring a welcome fifty from four in the second innings of England’s win in the third Test at Headingley.

“It’s not gone exactly how we’d have liked and Jason hasn’t scored the runs he would have liked,” admitted Root. “As before, we’re trying to find a formula at the top of the order that works for us. Jason is a high-quality player, we all know that, and he might be better suited at four.

Read more: Stuart Broad expects to play alongside James Anderson again despite bowling partner’s latest injury woes

“He was extremely excited to get the chance to open the batting but I think he might be better suited for the middle order on the evidence we have seen over the last three games. We have seen him play enough international cricket to know what he can do when he gets himself in so hopefully batting lower down allows him to do that.

“Joe has played some good cricket throughout the summer, he has got himself in and he was very good in that second innings [at Headingley]. It’s a great opportunity for him to get us off to a good start with Rory.”

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Stuart Broad says he is looking forward to Jofra Archer taking on Steve Smith again

Stuart Broad has admitted he is excited to see Jofra Archer and Steve Smith resume battle when the fourth Ashes Test starts at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

England arrived in Manchester level at 1-1 in the series thanks to the heroic last-wicket stand between Ben Stokes and Jack Leach that helped Joe Root’s team chase down an improbable 359 to win the last Test at Headingley.

Smith missed that match with concussion, the Australian having been felled by a 92-miles-per-hour bouncer from Archer on the fourth day of the second Test at Lord’s.

The contest between Archer and Smith was the highlight of a thrilling drawn Test, with England’s newest fast-bowling star cranking up the pace during a brutal spell that culminated in Smith having to leave the field after being struck on the neck.

Despite only playing three innings so far and missing the Leeds Test, Smith is still the leading runscorer in the series with 378 at an average of 126.

His twin hundreds almost single-handedly won Australia the opening Test at Edgbaston and England know Archer, who has 13 wickets at 13.53 in his debut Test series, will be crucial to their hopes of nullifying Smith’s threat.

“It was a nasty hit wasn’t it?” Broad said of Smith’s Lord’s blow. “But Test cricket is a brutal sport, it’s a sport that countries go hell for leather against each other. I’m sure when Steve comes in Jofra will be in Rooty’s ear wanting the ball, no doubt about that. That’s the intensity Test cricket brings, it’s the theatre. I might be stood at mid-on but I’ll be excited when Jofra asks for that ball and Steve comes in.

“It was a really tasty bit of cricket at Lord’s. Smith was playing beautifully, and Jofra went from 84mph to 95mph. He was really charging in. That sort of cricket is awesome to watch on the telly or from the stands but when you’re stood at mid-on it’s pretty special. Hopefully we can have a battle like that again.

“The dream is someone nicks him off first ball and Jofra doesn’t get to bowl at him but Steve doesn’t average 60-odd for nothing. There will be a period in this game where those two come together again and touch wood I’m on the pitch to view it.”

Asked about England’s plans to get Smith out in Manchester, Broad said: “We’ve not bowled at him since Lord’s and he’s had a period without batting, which is a bonus for us. Every time a batsman looks in great rhythm, a period of time out of being in the middle could affect them.

“I think there’s been a bit of to and fro between him and Jofra. So Jofra will be excited to continue that battle.”

Broad admitted the climax at Headingley, a match England won thanks to Stokes’ unbeaten 135 despite being bowled out for 67 on day two, was “the greatest” of any Test. “The drama of it is unrivalled,” he added. “I don’t think I’ve ever re-watched moments in a Test like I have done this week. I’ve got to stop doing it really; it’s a week on.”

However, he was impressed in Leeds by Australia’s David Warner, a man he has got out four times in six innings so far this summer. Warner is averaging just 13.16 in the series but Broad recognised a change in character after he toughed it out to score 61 in Australia’s first innings.

“Actually credit to Warner at Headingley,” said Broad. “That morning was probably as good a time to bowl as you’ll ever get in Test cricket. He might have played and missed a lot but he got through that and got a pretty crucial fifty. He changed his mindset and became that sort of bullish character again: a bit more niggly in the field and on the pitch.

“You can tell he changed his mindset to be a bit more in the face of the opposition and that suits him better as a cricketer. So we’ll expect the same again, we’ll expect him to come out and be that niggly character on the field he so often is and we need to combat that and dismiss him quickly. We know if we get Warner with that new ball we can expose Smith to a harder ball and that’s what we want.”

Broad also believes the dramatic conclusion to Headingley has shifted the momentum of the series back towards England. “Australia will have 99 per cent felt they were regaining the Ashes at Headingely,” he said. “The momentum of that Test shifted and with that the series. We can take a lot of energy, a lot of spirit from the way we stayed in that Test. That sort of momentum can definitely drag us through.

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The Ashes 2019: Stuart Broad expects to play alongside James Anderson again despite bowling partner’s latest injury woes

Stuart Broad says he expects to play alongside James Anderson for England again this winter despite the latest injury that has ruled his bowling partner out of the Ashes and raised fears that, at the age of 37, he could retire.

Anderson’s troublesome right calf, an injury that flared up four overs into the first match of the series at Edgbaston, will see him miss the final two Tests against Australia at Old Trafford and The Oval.

With the series locked at 1-1 ahead of the start of the fourth Test in Manchester on Wednesday, Anderson’s injury is a blow to England’s chances of regaining the Ashes and Broad admitted: “I had in my mind the idea that it was almost written in the stars he would be back and open the bowling at the James Anderson End [at Old Trafford] and bowl us to victory. But that’s not going to happen.”

Yet Broad is certain he will play alongside England’s all-time leading wicket-taker again this winter, when Joe Root’s team contest series in New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

“He’s got a lot of cricket left in him,” said Broad. “He’s having a bit of a break now to give the calf a bit of time because he’s tried everything. I’ve seen him running, bowling, doing absolutely everything he should to play an Ashes Test and then the calf doesn’t pull up well enough. I think he’s realistic.

“At 37 your body takes longer to heal. He’s got a period of time now that he can let it rest. I know, well I don’t know for certain, but from the conversations I’ve had, he’s looking at the winter and getting fit and wanting to be part of that.”

Grand finale in Anderson’s sights?

Read more: The end for James Anderson? Don’t write that stubborn so and so off just yet

This Ashes is the first series that counts towards the new World Test Championship, with every future series – bar England’s two Tests in New Zealand in November – counting towards the standings. The top two will then contest the inaugural final, expected to be at Lord’s, in the summer of 2021. Broad thinks that’s a target Anderson has in mind.

“It’s quite exciting with this World Test Championship,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like the Ashes series is the new cycle anymore, it feels like that World Test Championship Final is the new cycle. I know a few of the older players are looking more towards that than an Ashes series.”

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Ashes 2019: Jason Roy and Joe Denly to swap places as James Anderson is ruled out of series

England’s Ashes hopes have been hit by the news that James Anderson, their all-time leading wicket-taker, has been ruled out of the final two Tests against Australia.

The 37-year-old had been expected to return from a calf injury for the fourth Test at his home ground of Old Trafford having played for Lancashire’s Second XI this week.

But Anderson pulled up with pain in his problematic right calf in the 29th over he bowled during that four-day friendly against Durham and will now sit out the rest of a series that is delicately poised at 1-1 heading into the final two Tests.

Anderson, who had originally injured his calf playing for Lancashire at the start of July, broke down just four overs into the opening match of this Ashes series at Edgbaston.

In his absence Craig Overton was called into an otherwise unchanged 13-man squad for the fourth Test, which starts on Wednesday.

Batting reshuffle

One change England will make to their batting line-up, though, will come when opener Jason Roy and No4 batsman Joe Denly swap places in the order at Old Trafford.

Roy has established himself as one of the best one-day openers in the world but has struggled to translate that form into the Test arena. Denly’s gritty 50 in the second innings of England’s miraculous one-wicket win in Leeds also convinced the selectors he could do a job at the top of the order.

Jos Buttler, averaging just 9.16 in this series, can also count himself lucky to stay in the squad. The selectors, under pressure after England were bowled out for 67 on day two in Leeds, considered dropping either Roy or Buttler for Ollie Pope.

However, the Surrey youngster will have to wait for his chance of a recall after England decided to keep faith with the current batting personnel.

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The end for James Anderson? Don’t write that stubborn so and so off just yet

Don’t write the career obituaries just yet because if there’s one thing you need to know about James Anderson it is that he is a stubborn so and so.

How else do you keep going at the age of 37 when you already have 575 Test wickets to your name and have won the Ashes four times?

The most memorable of those victories for Anderson against Australia came in the winter of 2010-11, when his 24 wickets at 26.04 helped England claim their first away Ashes win for 24 years.

However, it is not being premature to say he has now played his final Ashes Test after being ruled out of the remainder of this current series with the calf injury that struck him down four overs into the opening Test at Edgbaston.

The fact he cannot return at his home ground of Old Trafford next week following weeks of rehab will be a body blow not just to Anderson but to England as well.

Yet with the next tour of Australia more than two years away in the winter of 2021-22 – when Anderson will be in his 40th year – it’s hard to see how he will play in the Ashes again.

Getting better with age

Whether or not this is the end of Anderson’s career completely remains to be seen. But although his body is failing him right now, there’s enough left for Anderson to achieve to think he won’t be calling it quits just yet.

It’s hard to fathom but the past three years have been the most productive of Anderson’s career – at home at least, with the Lancashire bowler averaging 17.07 with the ball over the past three summers.

Already England’s most prolific bowler in history and the leading seamer of all-time having overtaken Australian great Glenn McGrath with the final ball of last summer against India at The Oval, Anderson will have been eyeing up the 600-wicket mark at the start of this summer.

Kumble’s target in mind?

With just 25 to go – and another 20 after that to leapfrog former India spinner Anil Kumble into third on the all-time list – Anderson would surely be reluctant to call time on his career just yet.

This winter there are series in seam-friendly New Zealand and South Africa, a contest that always excites, to come.

Then next summer six Tests against West Indies and Pakistan present, fitness permitting, a great opportunity for Anderson to go well past 600 wickets and finish on the high his career deserves.

Yet if over the coming days he decides to call time on an England career that has so far spanned more than 16 years, nobody would begrudge Anderson. He has already done enough to claim his place among the greats of English sport.

Over 149 Tests and 194 ODIs so far, Anderson can look back on a magnificent career with pride. However, let’s not write him off just yet. After all, he has enough credit in the bank to also be afforded the chance of one last, glorious hurrah.

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Jofra Archer: ‘I thought I’d lost England the Ashes when I got out at Headingley’

Jofra Archer has lifted the lid on the tension inside England’s dressing-room during the closing stages of the thrilling Headingley Ashes Test – saying it was so silent during Nathan Lyon’s fumbled run-out attempt you could the players’ heartbeats.

Lyon missed the opportunity to win the game – and seal an unassailable 2-0 series lead – for Australia by one run when he cracked under the pressure with Jack Leach yards out of his ground following an ill-advised foray up the pitch.

Ben Stokes, who hit an unbeaten 135, went on to seal a memorable one-wicket win in the next over.

Archer also confessed he thought he had cost his side the game when he was the eighth England player to be dismissed with 73 still needed to win. He said: “All I can say is that that last game was special. When Lyon fumbled the run-out, you could hear a heartbeat in the dressing room. There were so many emotions flying around. When the scores were level, it was just a big cheer. At least we knew the series was not over!”

Coping with Ashes tension

Jofra Archer of England appeals for the wicket of Nathan Lyon of Australia at Headingley
Jofra Archer of England appeals for the wicket of Nathan Lyon of Australia at Headingley (Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty)

Asked how the players in the dressing-room coped with the tension, he revealed: “We believed we should be in the same spot we had watched the whole game in. I couldn’t look out through the window. I was inside watching it on the TV with [Joe] Denly and JRoy [Jason Roy]. All three of us watched it on the TV the day before, so it was back in the same spot. I went out to the window and someone said ‘get back, get back’. I was, like, ‘OK, as you were’.”

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Jofra Archer goads ‘complacent’ Australia for throwing away Ashes at Headingley

Of his dismissal, when he was caught on the boundary by Travis Head attempting to heave Lyon for six, Archer said: “I thought I had messed the series up so I was very relieved we are still alive and fighting.”

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‘They panicked’: Jofra Archer goads ‘complacent’ Australia for throwing away the Ashes at Headingley

Jofra Archer has accused Australia of complacency during the closing stages of England’s epic Headingley Test win and believes they will be mentally broken by the way Joe Root’s team pulled off a chase of 379 to level the Ashes series. The fast bowler also branded Australia’s attempts to get under his skin when he was batting during the chase as “terrible” and told Steve Smith, who goaded Archer on Wednesday by pointing out he has yet to dismiss him this series: “I can’t get him out if he’s not there.”

Root’s side looked dead and buried in Leeds after they were dismissed for 67 on day two, but their Ashes hopes were revived by the heroics of Ben Stokes, who scored a sublime unbeaten 135 to help seal an England-record run chase and a one-wicket victory to level the series at 1-1 ahead of the final two Tests.

Archer said: “That’s the thing, never get complacent. To be fair 359 runs is a lot of runs. The crowd started to get on their backs as well, I think they panicked a bit.

“At the end of the day before they probably thought they were going to roll us if they got a few quick early wickets but they didn’t go through us and I’m glad we showed some resistance because the series isn’t over and in the upcoming games I don’t think they’ll declare now. If they do have a chance I don’t think they’ll be too attacking. If they draw the series they still get to retain the Ashes so we’ll just see how the next Test goes.”

‘They still couldn’t bowl us out’

Asked if he thought Australia, who would have retained the Ashes if they had won in Leeds, would be demoralised heading into next week’s fourth Test at Old Trafford, Archer said: “Yeah. They were in the field a long time. They got to the second new ball and still couldn’t bowl us out. All of those mental facts should sit with them next game.

“The next game is all that’s important. We kept it alive, and hopefully we can win the next one, because I think they’ll be happy if the rest of the games are drawn, so let’s just give them one last upset – we upset them in the World Cup [semi-final], let’s try to do it again.”

Read More:

Ben Stokes’ Ashes dinner of fried chicken and chocolate is just one of the curious matchday diets

As for the on-field battle, Archer, who took six wickets when England bowled Australia out for 179 in the first innings, revealed the sledging from Tim Paine’s team when he was batting during on the final day left a lot to be desired.

Lyon’s ‘terrible chat’

Jofra Archer made 15 before being caught off the bowling of Nathan Lyon in England’s second innings (Photo: PA)

Archer, who made 15 before holing out off the bowling of Nathan Lyon, said: “It was terrible chat. Nothing to worry about. It made me laugh. I think it was either 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. All I can say is we got over the line. It doesn’t matter how many wickets we won by. It doesn’t matter how we got there. The point was that we did.”

Archer struck Smith with a fearsome bouncer during the Lord’s Test, the impact eventually ruling the Australian out of the match at Headingley with concussion.

The battle between Smith and Archer was the highlight of that second Test and the duel between the pair was spiced up by Smith’s comments yesterday, when he said: “There’s been a bit of talk that he’s got the wood over me, but he hasn’t actually got me out. He hit me on the head on a wicket that was a bit up and down at Lord’s. He actually didn’t get me out.”

‘There will be ample time to get Smith out’

However, Archer, who admitted before the series that Smith avoided facing him in the nets when they were team-mates at Rajasthan Royals in this year’s Indian Premier League, has hit back.

Read More:

Ben Stokes lbw: Did umpire Joel Wilson make an error, or was HawkEye wrong?

“Well, I can’t get him out if he wasn’t there,” he said. “But there’ll be more than ample time to get him out. 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. I’m not here to get caught up in a contest with one man. I want to win the Ashes.”

The Ashes would have been gone for England had Stokes not bailed out his team-mates at Headingley and Archer, who also played a starring role during England’s World Cup win last month, admitted: “Yes, he did give us a second life in this series. Everyone would like to win the World Cup and the Ashes as well so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t go and do it now.”

Specsavers are the official Test partner of the England cricket team. Jofra was speaking to i ahead of the fourth Specsavers Ashes Test match

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England consider Ollie Pope recall for 4th Ashes Test as Jason Roy and Joe Denly swap positions

England will consider calling up Ollie Pope for next week’s fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford to address the batting frailties in their top six.

Joe Root’s side chased down 359 to win a stunning third Test in Leeds by one wicket and level the series against Australia at 1-1 with two matches to play.

But the Headingley heroics of Ben Stokes, who scored an unbeaten 135 during the chase, papered over the cracks of a first-innings display that saw England bowled out for 67.

That means changes are almost certain in Manchester next week and i understands the prospect of Pope being drafted into the side at No 6 will be discussed when the selectors get together later this week.

The 21-year-old batsman, who scored an unbeaten double hundred for Surrey in the County Championship last week, would come into the team at No 6, with Jos Buttler, averaging 9.16 during this Ashes series, the most likely to make way.

Middle order reshuffle

Ollie Pope played in two Tests against India in 2018 (Getty Images)

Buttler has looked exhausted of late having played a key role across all formats for England over the past year, including a starring role in last month’s World Cup final triumph against New Zealand at Lord’s.

Taking him out of the firing line now will be considered, although England would be loathe to jettison a key figure in the dressing-room and a man who was vice-captain of the Test team up until last month, when he lost the job to Stokes.

Yet the reality of an Ashes series that is deadlocked heading into the final two Tests means there will be little room for sentiment among the selectors.

Pope averages almost 60 in first-class and cricket played two Tests against India last summer at No 4. Although he only had a top score of 28 in those matches, Pope was batted out of position and England believe he would prosper if he was given a chance lower down the order, where he bats for Surrey.

England will also discuss the possibility of Jason Roy and Joe Denly swapping positions, with the former’s failure as an opener in his first four Tests necessitating a drop down the order and the latter having already opened for England in Test cricket.

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Can Australia recover from their almighty choke at Headingley? The scars will not heal quickly

How do you recover from the biggest choke in your nation’s cricketing history? That’s the question Australia’s distraught players will have to wrestle with over the coming days as they come to terms with their Headingley meltdown.

As brilliant as Ben Stokes’ virtuoso innings was, the cold, hard facts are that he wouldn’t have been able to pull off the greatest heist in cricketing history without a little help from the Australians.

Let’s be clear, Stokes’ unbeaten 135 was magnificent. It was probably the best innings of all time and a fitting denouement to arguably the greatest Test match.

For Australia, who had 73 runs to play with and just one wicket to get when Jack Leach came to the crease, it was a case of missed opportunities.

Had Marcus Harris not dropped Stokes on 117, had captain Tim Paine not burned his team’s last review on a dud lbw shout against Jack Leach and, crucially, had Nathan Lyon not fumbled the run-out chance that would have sealed a one-run win, Australia would have retained the Ashes already.

Putting a brave face on

Nathan Lyon let victory slip through his fingers (Getty Images)

England were dead and buried after they were routed for 67 in their first innings and Australia’s unassailable 2-0 lead in the series was as good as secured.

Read more: ‘It all seemed quite simple’: Leach reveals how Stokes planned England’s impossible victory

But, somehow, a combination of Stokes’ brilliance and the tourists’ loss of nerve means the teams go into the final two Tests level in the series at 1-1.

Paine attempted to put a brave face on the situation in the immediate aftermath of his team’s implosion, saying: “I wouldn’t say we were rattled. No doubt there was pressure. It was close, the crowd was loud, that was as hard as it gets.

“Sometimes people make mistakes and we made a couple today. We have time now to make sure we stick together, bounce back.”

Total shock

Marcus Harris dropped Ben Stokes on 117 (Getty Images)

Yet the words of coach Justin Langer told of a squad in a total state of shock. “You can only imagine how disappointed he is,” Langer said of Paine. “You’d probably be upset if he wasn’t feeling so deflated about it.

Read more: Ben Stokes does a Beefy to rescue England and write his own name into Headingley legend

“We’re all feeling it. Oh my gosh, you’ve got no idea how much that hurts – you have no idea. We probably won’t talk much for a day or a night, and then when we get back into it. We’ll review it and make sure we get it better next time.”

Words can only go so far, though. The true impact of what happened at Headingley won’t be truly known until the end of the series. Yet history tells us Australia will have a tough job picking themselves up off the floor. Edgbaston 2005, the classic Test England went on to win by two runs, was the catalyst for Australia’s first Ashes series defeat in 18 years.

For the best comparison we should go back to the original Miracle of Headingley in 1981, when an Ian Botham-inspired England went on to win the Ashes after implausibly levelling the series at 1-1 having been asked to follow on.


An Australia fan reacts to the result at Headingley (Sky Sports)

Reflections by the Australian players involved in that match some years later probably give a better insight into how the current squad are feeling now than the words of either Paine or Langer.

Read more: Ben Stokes lbw: How umpire error and Australia’s burned review saved England’s Ashes hopes

Kim Hughes, Australia’s captain 38 years ago, has said of the experience: “I don’t know whether you ever get over a game like that. We went on to the next match at Edgbaston, lost a couple of early wickets and thought, ‘Here we go again’.

“If we had won that match, I’m convinced we would have won the next one. We could have taken the series 4-0. It would have been one of the most famous Ashes results in history. There was a movie called Sliding Doors, which asked what happens if you go through the other door. Little things can change history, and I can tell you it’s not a big difference.”

Opening batsman Graeme Wood admitted: “When I look back over my career, that is certainly the most disappointed I’ve ever been. We were 1-0 up, it was a great opportunity to win the Ashes, and for everything to turn around like that, well…”

Fast bowler Geoff Lawson added: “You would have to be comatose not to have been affected by that game.”

But the final word must go to Wood’s opening partner, John Dyson, who recalled: “I think it affected all of us, and what should have been a great summer turned into a nightmare.”

England won the 1981 series 3-1 and it will take some doing now for a shell-shocked Australia to avoid a similar fate this summer.

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‘It all seemed quite simple’: Jack Leach reveals how Ben Stokes planned England’s impossible victory

He’s the balding, bespectacled former Sainsbury’s trolley collector without whose batting heroics England would have already lost the Ashes. Step forward Jack Leach.

The 28-year-old spin bowler has become English cricket’s latest cult hero after the brave rearguard effort that allowed Ben Stokes to pull off the greatest Test win of all time.

Leach may have scored 92 as a nightwatchman in the Lord’s Test against Ireland last month, but in the face of Australia’s feared pace attack at Headingley the No11 batsman overcame the odds to see off 17 balls during a match-winning last-wicket stand of 76 to which he contributed precisely one run.

The sight of Leach constantly taking off his gloves and helmet in the sweltering heat to clean his glasses before facing each delivery has earned him free glasses for life from Test-match sponsors Specsavers.

Cult hero status

It’s all a long way from working the trolleys at the Taunton branch of Sainsbury’s when he was a Somerset academy player. So how does it feel to be a cult hero?

“That’s nice,” he says in typically understated fashion. “I don’t know what it is. It’s probably because I look like a village cricketer out there in my glasses, the bald head and maybe people think ‘that could be me!’ All the others look pretty professional. The support’s been amazing and I’m just enjoying playing for England.”

On the glasses routine, Leach reveals: “I just had to make sure they were clean every time I was facing up because I would really regret it if it they had been smudged! It’s been hot. I got out there and they zoomed in on the glasses. I just had to stay calm and do the job at hand. I felt good out there, I was really focused on what I needed to do.”

‘It seemed quite simple’

Much of that was down to the guidance of Stokes. “I can’t remember what he said to me,” he says. “I think he spoke about the plan, how we would go about it. Stokesy straight away is thinking about how he will knock off the runs. He is obviously believing that it’s definitely going to happen. It seemed quite simple.

“It is all a bit of a blur to be honest. I didn’t want to get in Stokesy’s bubble when he was doing really well, hitting those sixes. I didn’t want to say too much but I also wanted him to just focus on the next ball, especially when we got close.”

Leach wasn’t involved in the World Cup final but the batting heroics of Stokes during that thriller against New Zealand infused Leach with the belief the improbable could be done at Headingley. “Watching the World Cup final as a fan shows that anything is possible,” he said. “Ben Stokes was at the centre of that as well. Maybe Ben Stokes has to be at the centre of all things that are possible.”

As for his innings against Ireland, after which his next match was a club game for Taunton Deane against North Perrott for which he had to pay £10 in match fees to play, what happened at Headingley tops it. “The crowd here were amazing,” says Leach. “I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like it. Obviously 1-0 down in the Ashes we needed to win so it’s a better feeling. I can’t believe it.”

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‘DRS got that completely wrong’: Ben Stokes says he was not lbw to Nathan Lyon

Ben Stokes has dismissed claims he should have been given out lbw to Nathan Lyon during the dramatic conclusion to the Headingley Test, claiming ball-tracking technology got it wrong.

With England needing two to win to pull off their record Test run chase, Australia were left to rue wasting their last review the over before umpire Joel Wilson turned down Lyon’s appeal. HawkEye ­technology showed the ball crashing into the stumps.

But Stokes, whose unbeaten 135 secured England’s greatest-ever Test victory, said: “I have seen the DRS [decision review system] on my lbw shout, which obviously shows up with three reds, but DRS has got that completely wrong, as it flicked my front pad first and didn’t spin.

“It shows how crucial it is to make sure you use your reviews. When you get to a situation like that, you still need one. If they [Australia] had one, they would have used it and ended up winning. I still cannot believe it was three reds. I thought, as soon as it hit me, that it was sliding down leg because there was no spin.”

Australia’s panic

Hawkeye showed the ball would have clattered into leg stump (Sky Sports)

England are now level at 1-1 in the Ashes with two to play, starting with the fourth Test in Manchester next week.

And Australia coach Justin Langer admitted his team panicked when they wasted their last review on an lbw appeal from Pat Cummins against England’s No 11 batsman Jack Leach. “We’ve been really poor at it this whole series,” Langer said of his side’s use of DRS. “We’ve talked a lot about getting ­better at our reviews. Certainly we have control of that.

“We’ve got a way we go about it but sometimes you don’t quite get it right. The one off Pat Cummins was getting pretty desperate at the end and that often happens. That’s just how it works out.”

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England vs Australia player ratings from 3rd Ashes Test at Headingley

England ratings

Rory Burns: 3/10

Just 16 runs across two innings was a poor return for the opener after impressing in the opening two Tests.

Jason Roy: 3/10

Another poor Test and more questions will now be asked about whether he is a genuine Test opener.

Joe Root: 7/10

First-innings duck followed by crucial 77 in the second innings that laid the foundation for this famous victory.

Joe Denly: 6/10

A sketchy second-innings half-century might be enough to rescue his Test career. But still looks out of his depth at this level.

Ben Stokes: 10/10

A force of nature with bat and ball, including an epic 15-over spell late on day three and that unbeaten final-day match-winning century.

Jonny Bairstow: 6/10

Not great with the gloves but a gutsy second-innings knock helped put on a valuable 86-run stand with Stokes on the final day.

Jos Buttler: 2/10

Six runs for a specialist batsman is not good enough. Looks like he needs a rest after his World Cup heroics.

Chris Woakes: 3/10

Not great with bat or ball and his brainless dismissal on the final day could have cost England the match.

Jofra Archer: 9/10

Where would England have been without his six-wicket haul on day one? Another superstar performance in just his second Test.

Stuart Broad: 8/10

Only took four wickets across the match but his relentless, accurate bowling constantly applied pressure to Australia’s batsmen.

Jack Leach: 8/10

The 17 balls he saw off over the final hour of this epic will probably be the most important contribution of his England career.

Australia ratings

Tim Paine lost control as Ben Stokes took the game away from Australia (Getty Images)

David Warner: 7/10

First-innings 61 and six catches negate second-innings duck where Stuart Broad got him out for the fourth time this series.

Marcus Harris: 3/10

Scored just 27 runs and potentially dropped the Ashes when he spilled a chance to get Ben Stokes on the final day.

Usman Khawaja: 3/10

Again unconvincing at No 3. Gifted stroke-player but looks ill-equipped to deal with the extra movement so common in English conditions.

Marnus Labuschagne: 8/10

Steve Smith’s replacement deserved better than being on the losing side after fine back-to-back knocks of 74 and 80.

Travis Head: 3/10

Another Australian batsman who is struggling badly with English conditions and made just 25 runs in this Test.

Matthew Wade: 3/10

Should be Australia’s wicketkeeper instead of Tim Paine as another bad return shows he’s not good enough to be a specialist Test batsman.

Tim Paine: 4/10

Failed twice with the bat and captaincy found wanting in a finale that saw him burn his side’s last review to costly effect.

James Pattinson: 7/10

Overshadowed by others in the attack on his return but still played his part in England’s first-innings destruction.

Pat Cummins: 7/10

Superb in England’s first innings, taking 3-23, but lost his radar at a crucial time on the final day.

Nathan Lyon: 3/10

Didn’t bowl his best in this match and his late fumble to run out Jack Leach on the final cost his team this match – and maybe the Ashes.

Josh Hazlewood: 8/10

Nine wickets in the match and the fast bowler was virtually unplayable as he ran through England on day two.

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Ashes 2019: How Ben Stokes inspired England’s incredible comeback at Headingley

HEADINGLEY — For the poor souls who missed this epic Test, perhaps the greatest ever played, a word of advice. Watch the highlights on a loop – for the next 40 years.

It really was that good and there is one man to thank for a victory that saw England come back from the dead in this Ashes series – Ben Stokes. This wasn’t just a reprisal of Ian Botham’s heroics at this ground against Australia in 1981 – this was even better.

Stokes, the architect of his country’s barely-believable triumph in last month’s World Cup final against New Zealand at Lord’s, is a cricketer who makes people believe anything is possible.

And this is why.

Historic comeback

On a crazy fourth day in Leeds the all-rounder bent this contest to his will and in one fell swoop, levelled up the series at 1-1 heading into the final two Tests. England successfully completed a record Test run chase of 359 to win by one wicket – the tightest margin of victory in an Ashes series since the two-run win at Edgbaston in 2005, previously the “Greatest Ever Test”.

No team other than Don Bradman’s Invincibles of 1948, who successfully pursued 404, have chased down more at Headingley.

The manner of the defeat for the tourists was agonising. Having bowled England out for 67 on the second day, the retention of the Ashes at the earliest available opportunity was firmly in their grasp. But they blew it.

Nobody will feel the pain of defeat more than Nathan Lyon.

Drama to the very end

With England nine wickets down and still needing two to win in the penultimate over, Jack Leach set off on a suicidal run before he was turned back by Stokes. When the throw from Pat Cummins came in to Lyon Leach was close enough to his batting partner to smell his breath.

But Lyon fumbled and Leach scrambled back to find his ground.

With the next ball Lyon trapped Stokes lbw but umpire Joel Wilson was unmoved. Australia, who had blown their last review in the previous over attempting to get Leach lbw to Pat Cummins, had no recourse to technology, which showed the ball smashing into the stumps.

Leach then scrambled a single off Cummins three balls into the next over. Scores level. The third tied Test match in history? No chance.

All it took was one more delivery, Stokes flaying Cummins through the covers for four. The Miracle of Headingley Mark II was complete.

Test cricket at its very best

At the end England had completed their record Test chase – beating the 332-7 against Australia at Melbourne in 1928.

They had also contributed to one of the one most frantic and logic-defying finishes in the sport’s history for the second time in just over a month.

And just like that World Cup final, it was Stokes who was at the centre of the drama. Overnight, Stokes had made two from 50 balls as England closed the third day on 156 for three. Their chances of victory, given the match situation and Australia’s brilliant seam attack were almost non-existent.

However, Stokes is a player who defies logic, who makes people dare to dream and it is to his eternal credit that he realised those dreams on this dramatic day.

Remarkable comeback

It all started for him in the fourth over of the day when, still on two, he had his helmet obliterated by a Josh Hazlewood short ball.

By lunch he had lost captain Joe Root when he was caught brilliantly by David Warner off Lyon. But a 79-run stand with Jonny Bairstow that had seen off the second new ball took England to 238-4 at lunch, 121 from victory.

Yet the loss of three wickets – Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes – for 16 after lunch seemed to have done for England.

By the time Jofra Archer’s cameo of 15 was brought to a close by a brainless slog, 73 were needed. The equation was the same when Broad departed. Enter Stokes, whose innings will forever be remembered for three shots –the switch-hitting of Lyon for six that brought the required runs down to 50, an audacious swoop off James Pattinson that brought it down to 40 and then the four off Hazlewood that brought up his eighth Test hundred.

At the landmark, so in the zone was Stokes that he didn’t even celebrate. He still had work to do. The way he completed it was glorious and has kept this Ashes series alive.

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Ashes 2019: Ben Stokes warns Australia there will be no let up in Jofra Archer’s hostile bowling

Just one Test into his career and Jofra Archer is already knocking at the door of cricket’s fast-bowling greats. How far and just how fast he can go over the next few years is now perhaps the most exciting question for England.

The 24-year-old’s mesmeric eight-over spell after lunch on the fourth day at Lord’s – a passage of play that included the grievous blow to Steve Smith’s neck that concussed Australia’s best batsman – changed the whole complexion of this Ashes series.

That’s not just because it has made Smith a major doubt for this week’s third Test at Headingley but instilled a belief among England’s players that they possess a once-in-a-generation talent.

Ben Stokes, speaking in the aftermath of that drawn Lord’s Test, perhaps best summed up Archer’s impact when he said: “He’s a frightening talent.”

The quickest Englishman ever?

Australia’s batsmen, especially Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, his concussion replacement who was struck flush on the grille on Sunday by a 91.6mph delivery, would no doubt agree with that sentiment.

Smith, who also took blows to the arm and then the glove, was the focus of perhaps the most ferocious spell in England’s Ashes history since Bodyline.

Harold Larwood, the weapon of choice for captain Douglas Jardine on that infamous 1932-33 tour of Australia, was said to have bowled between 90-100mph. Speed guns, of course, weren’t around in those days so we will really never know.

But Archer is already the quickest England bowler of the modern era. Mark Wood, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison and Steven Finn have all clocked deliveries around the 94-95mph mark.

Archer’s fastest on his debut was a staggering 96.1mph – putting him right up there among the quickest bowlers who have ever graced the game.

Only three men – Shoaib Akhtar, Shaun Tait and Brett Lee – have broken the 100mph barrier. It may only be a matter of time before Archer joins them.

Spectacular start

The Barbados-born quick has had a spectacular start to his England career since qualifying earlier this year. He started with a starring role in England’s World Cup-winning campaign, taking 21 wickets and bowling the decisive Super Over in the thrilling tied final against New Zealand.

What he achieved at Lord’s in his first Test, though, was even more remarkable. His 25th over of the match – which came during that electric spell on day four – was the quickest ever by an England bowler – the radar clocking his average speed as 92.79mph.

Such consistent pace so deep into the Test – this was Archer’s sixth spell of the match – gives batsmen no respite. Any lapse in concentration could prove costly – either to the team in terms of your wicket or your own health, as was the case with Smith.

Mitchell Johnson had a similar effect during the 2013-14 Ashes series, when England’s batsmen were caught cold by a man bowling consistently between 93-97mph.

Johnson had always been quick but nowhere near as consistently. The shock permeated throughout the team and among the casualties after the first Test in Brisbane was Jonathan Trott, already struggling with a stress-related illness and who subsequently flew home.

The key weapon

Smith’s injury at Lord’s and the aftermath when he was diagnosed with a delayed concussion had a similar feeling, only this time England had the key weapon in the series.

“He gives another dimension to our bowling attack,” says Stokes. “The first innings he bowled 29 overs but his last spell of eight overs was one of the best out-and-out fast bowling spells I have seen.

“We’ve seen Mitchell Johnson do it to us, especially in 2013, but Jofra just makes it look so easy – like he’s walking in to bowl. And 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. Literally the sky is the limit for him and he’s a great addition to our Test team.”

Archer has struck batsmen 15 times since making his England debut in May – the most by any bowler in that period and a clear sign that his pace is too hot for many to handle.

As worrying as the immediate aftermath of the Smith incident on Saturday was, Stokes insists Archer will not shy away from roughing up the Australians with more short stuff throughout the rest of the series.

“It’s part of the game and a big part of Jofra’s game – being aggressive, not letting batsmen settle,” he says. “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’.”

Australia have been warned.

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Ashes 2019: Joe Root hails ‘really impressive’ Jofra Archer Test debut which ‘lived up to the hype’

England captain Joe Root hailed the transformational effect Jofra Archer has had on this Ashes series after the fast bowler’s spectacular debut in the second Test.

Archer, 24, took three wickets on the final day as England fell agonisingly short of a series-levelling victory, Australia limping to the close on 154 for six to escape from Lord’s with a draw.

But as well as ruling out Steve Smith through concussion after hitting the former Australia captain in the neck with a vicious bouncer on Saturday, Archer’s all-round pace and hostility appears to have transformed the series.

Hailed by captain

Jofra Archer of England reacts while bowling during day five (Getty Images)
Jofra Archer of England reacts while bowling during day five (Getty Images)

Read more: Ashes 2019: Jofra Archer changes series dynamic despite draw at Lord’s

“He has come in and had a massive impact and added a dynamic to our bowling group,” said Root. “He has given Australia something to think about and it is really impressive to see someone come in on Test debut and shake up things and live up to the hype. It makes for some very interesting last few games.

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

“With the other guys around him it makes a tasty combination, which is why we always felt we were in the game. He has had a big workload this week and we have to make sure he is 100 per cent ready to go at Headingley.”

Dynamic shift

Read more: A Test upended by one Jofra Archer delivery, possibly a whole series

That third Test in Leeds on Thursday and Root believes Archer, who took five wickets overall on his debut, can have the same effect on the Australians as the raw pace of Mitchell Johnson had on England during the 2013-14 Ashes whitewash Down Under.

“Potentially,” he said. “They will have to think quite clearly how to combat how he is going to come at them. It is different to the other options we have had previously in this team. It is a different skill. On a surface that might nibble and to add that into a quartet is a really big bonus for us.”

On the overall result, with his team unable to get the 10 wickets they needed in the final 48 overs, Root added: “We threw everything at them and gave ourselves a good amount of overs to create things. Sometimes you need everything going for you and all in all it was a fantastic effort.”

There was also praise for Jack Leach, the left-arm spinner who also took three wickets on the final day of this rain-affected match. “It is great to see him come in and make such an impact in shortened game,” Root said. “You don’t normally see spinners in a three-and-a-half day game have much of an impact but still I thought he bowled brilliant.”

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