Jofra Archer has shaken up the Ashes after living up to the hype on his Test debut, according to England captain Joe Root.
An intriguing finish to the second Test at Lord’s was in store when England declared on 258-5 in the second session, setting Australia 267 to win or bat out the final 48 overs for a draw on Sunday.
It was the latter scenario which came to fruition as the tourists, missing Steve Smith because of the concussion he suffered following an Archer bouncer, batted out for a draw, meaning Tim Paine’s side retained a 1-0 lead in the series.
However, in Archer – who returned match figures of 5-91 from a heavy workload of 44 overs – England have fresh optimism heading into the third Test at Headingley, with Smith’s availability for an encounter that begins on Thursday in “serious doubt”.
“He’s come in and he really has made a massive impact, added a different dynamic to our bowling group,” Root said at a news conference.
“I think [he] has given Australia something different to think about so it’s really pleasing to see someone come in on Test debut and really shake up things and live up to the hype, even some of the hype that he put on himself.
“It’s really pleasing to see and it makes for a very interesting last three games.”
Me getting out of bed tomorrow morning pic.twitter.com/dQ6FK91EWr
— Jofra Archer (@JofraArcher) August 18, 2019
It was one of Archer’s rockets that clattered into Smith’s neck and knocked Australia’s talisman down on Saturday.
Though Smith returned to complete his innings later that day, Australia announced on Sunday that he would play no further part at Lord’s having shown concussion symptoms when he woke up.
Smith’s concussion replacement in their XI, Marnus Labuschagne, then copped another vicious delivery on the helmet grille from Archer, who had sent back David Warner and Usman Khawaja inside the opening six overs.
Labuschagne survived that onslaught and went on to make a crucial 59, but Root feels Barbados-born seamer Archer can be instrumental as his side seek to retain the urn.
“He makes things happen when not many others in world cricket can,” Root added.
“He’s got such a unique action and way of bowling and natural pace which is always going to be in the game on any surface. When you’ve got that and the skill of the other guys around it, it makes for a tasty combination.
“It will make them think about what way they’re going to combat how he’s going to come at them.
“It’s always nice when you’re stood at slip and not batting against him. It’s very different to the other options that we’ve had previously and have in this team, it’s a different skill.”