(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 17, 2019 Australia's Steve Smith lays on the pitch after being hit in the head
(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 17, 2019 Australia's Steve Smith lays on the pitch after being hit in the head

Smith sledge that has Archer keen for another crack

Jofra Archer will reignite his simmering rivalry with Steve Smith by greeting him with a short-ball salvo the second the world's No.1 Test batsman arrives at the crease this week.

England fired the first shots ahead of the crucial fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford by declaring Archer was licking his lips at the opportunity of again rattling the Australian's cage.

Despite the extraordinary heroics of Ben Stokes' steering England to a famous one-wicket victory at Headingley last week, it is Archer and his searing pace which remains the x-factor which can strike fear into the Australian batting line-up.

In just two Tests Archer has demonstrated the terrifying damage he is capable of with dizzying pace, but also that he possesses considerable guile which helped net a maiden five-wicket Test haul at Leeds.

Stream live coverage of 2019 US Open with ESPN on KAYO SPORTS on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Get your 14-day free trial and start streaming instantly >


And England insist they will have no issue letting their fast-bowling sensation off the leash the moment Smith takes guard at Old Trafford, with pace leader Stuart Broad declaring Archer will be demanding to bowl at his superstar rival.

"I'm sure when Steve comes in Jofra will be in (captain Joe Root's) ear wanting the ball, no doubt about that," Broad said ahead of the fourth Test, which starts on Manchester on Wednesday.

"That's the intensity Test cricket brings, it's the theatre we were talking about. I might be stood at mid-on but I'll be excited when Jofra asks for that ball and Steve comes in."

Smith was levelled during a ferocious spell of fast bowling at Lord's from Archer, who struck the former skipper first on the arm and later on the side of the neck in an ugly blow which forced Smith from the field - leaving him with a concussion which would rule him out of the third Test defeat.


Smith this week challenged Archer by declaring the Barbados-born powerhouse didn't dismiss him at Lord's - that honour went to Chris Woakes, when Smith fell for 92 after initially being retired hurt for 80.

It's a barb Broad feels could stoke the flames of Test cricket's newest box office showdown.

"Jofra is a fantastic bowler - but he's an even better bowler when he gets challenged," Broad added.

From Australia's perspective, there will be no mental scars for Smith when he arrives at the crease - whether England continues to attack with short balls or not.

Langer, who in his 105 Test matches as a fearless opener was no stranger to being hit on the body, admitted there would ordinarily be a lingering concern in the back of your mind.

But he's never met anyone better prepared to silence that doubting voice than Smith.

"When you get hit, it's always a little voice on your shoulder," Langer said.

"You've got to have a good strategy and he works the game out better than anyone I've ever met in my life.

"He would've thought long and hard about it. If anyone's going to get over any little demons it'll be Stephen."