Australia batsman Steve Smith will head to the crease in the fourth Ashes Test still thinking about the Jofra Archer bouncer that left him with concussion, according to Simon Jones.
Smith is expected to return to the tourists’ line-up at Old Trafford having missed the second innings at Lord’s and their one-wicket loss to England at Headingley last month with a bout of concussion sustained when a short delivery from Archer struck his neck.
The 30-year-old, who remains the series’ leading run-scorer despite only playing half of the six innings, refuted the idea Archer has “got the wood over me” last week when he pointed out England’s latest Test star “hasn’t actually got me out”.
However, former England seamer Jones is adamant Smith and the rest of the Australian team will still be thinking about Archer’s threat when the two teams renew their rivalry in the fourth Test, which begins on Wednesday.
Asked by Omnisport whether Archer’s bouncer would be playing on Smith’s mind, Jones replied: “Of course it is.
“He’s trying to play it down, as any normal person would. They’ve had a little bit of banter in the press, always will during an Ashes series. Things get said, but the talking has to be done out there.
“I’m sure Archer if he gets the opportunity to bowl to him he will go after him again. It’s natural, that’s your job as a fast bowler. You’ve got to impose yourself on the opposition.
“That will definitely be in the back of Steve Smith’s mind, as it will for all the other batters.”
With Smith only able to watch on at Headingley, Ben Stokes inspired England to pull off a miracle with an unbeaten century that kept the series alive and dashed Australia’s chances of retaining the urn before the final two Tests.
An England victory in Leeds appeared unfathomable when they were rolled for 67 first time around and their top-order failings were evident in the second innings too when they fell to 15-2.
Joe Denly has confirmed the batting order will be rejigged at Old Trafford, where he will be promoted to open and the struggling Jason Roy will drop down to four.
That is a decision that has won the approval of Jones, part of England’s Ashes-winning team in 2005.
“I think that’s a great move, I think that’s the right move,” added Jones, who was speaking on behalf of Specsavers, the official Test partner of the England cricket team.
“Jason Roy is immensely talented, I think he’s a class, class player. He’s facing a very good bowling attack. Yes, he’s played the odd shot where he’s been a little bit loose but that’s the way he plays. If he creams it for four, they’d say, ‘What a hell of a shot’. I think give him a go at four.
“To bring in changes now and to change the side is quite dangerous because the harmony they have at the moment, the way they are balancing that side… they are comfortable with each other.
“I think that was a big key for us building up to 2005. We had the same group of players, same 12. So every time you walked into that dressing room, you felt comfortable. And I think that’s what England have to do now.
“Denly’s class as well. He’s starting to hit form. He’s getting some more runs, he got 50 in the last game. I do like the look of the pair of them, I think they need to manoeuvre them around a little bit to give them the best opportunity to score runs and go for it.”