Stuart Broad can’t wait for England team-mate Jofra Archer to take the attack to Australia’s Steve Smith again during the fourth Ashes Test. England and Australia head into Wednesday’s fourth Test in Manchester level at 1-1 with two matches to play.
England are back in the hunt to regain the Ashes after their epic comeback to win the third Test thanks to Ben Stokes’ heroics.
But it was the absence of Australia’s key batsman Smith that paved the way for England’s triumph after he was ruled out due to a concussion suffered when he was hit on the head by Archer’s bouncer in the previous Test.
Archer bowled a fierce spell at Smith during the drawn match at Lord’s last month, culminating in a 92 mph bouncer that left him woozy and ruled him out of the third Test. Smith, who has 378 runs in three innings, proved his fitness in last week’s tour match against Derbyshire.
He will be looking to prove he can get the better of Archer this time around and fellow England pace bowler Broad is expecting another battle royale.
“It’s great to have him back. No-one wants to see anyone miss cricket through a head injury. But Test cricket is a brutal sport, it’s a sport where countries go hell for leather against each other,” Broad told reporters on Monday.
“I’m sure when Steve comes in Jofra will be in Joe Root’s ear wanting the ball, no doubt about that. Jofra will be excited to continue that battle. 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. That’s the intensity Test cricket brings, that’s the theatre.
“I might be stood at mid-on but I’ll be excited when Jofra asks for that ball. It was a really tasty bit of cricket at Lord’s, Smith was on 70 or 80, 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.”