England's Jofra Archer bowls serious heat (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
England's Jofra Archer bowls serious heat (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

World reacts to ‘terrifying’ Ashes weapon

We've learnt plenty over the past five days at Lord's: Josh Hazlewood hates being snubbed, Steve Smith isn't invincible and there's a reason the Australian hierarchy really rates Marnus Labuschagne.

But above it all one figure loomed larger than everyone and everything else - Jofra Archer.

The second Ashes Test may have ended in a draw but Archer landed a knockout blow on Smith and delivered some seriously painful gut punches in a performance former England captain Michael Vaughan said has sent shivers around world cricket.

"Jofra Archer is the difference. That pace was frightening," Vaughan said on BBC radio.

The fast bowler may have only being playing his first Test but there was no doubting Archer was the star attraction fans were desperate to see. The English press salivated over his every move and the Lord's crowd had a noticeably different buzz about it when the 24-year-old was striding in and sending down thunderbolts.

Archer had some wondering whether he'd broken Smith's arm when he cracked him with a sharp lifter on day four before the Barbados-born quick dropped Australia's best player with a vicious blow to the neck that saw him withdraw from the Test with concussion.

It was the only time in the match the crowd went silent when Archer had the ball in his hands.

The over in which he sent Smith to the canvas was the fastest ever recorded by an Englishman in Tests as he averaged 150km/h across the six deliveries, and he wasn't done scaring visiting batsmen.

Marnus Labuschagne replaced Smith in the side when the former skipper was ruled out and he copped a venomous welcome to the crease when another searing bumper smashed the grill of his helmet.


Cop that. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Cop that. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Labuschagne went down instantly but unlike Smith, he bounced back up and was given the all-clear to continue batting.

Despite the young Queenslander doing his best to shake it off, the sight of another Australian being pinged in the head by the hottest commodity in world cricket sent social media wild.

After day four Australian sports broadcaster Quentin Hull said on Twitter Archer's electric spell was "out of this world" and he wasn't alone in being wowed by the smooth speedster.

According to Ben Jones of CricViz, Archer has now hit batsmen on the body or helmet 15 times since he made his international debut - more than any other bowler in that time. Keeping in mind he's only played 14 ODIs and one Test, that's pretty incredible.

Archer is the X-factor England has been crying out for and his introduction has the potential to change the course of the series.


England captain Joe Root knows he has something special in his arsenal and heaped praise on his shiny new toy after he more than matched the huge hype surrounding his arrival in Test cricket.

"He's come in and he really has made a massive impact, added a different dynamic to our bowling group and has given Australia something different to think about," Root said.

"It's really pleasing to see someone come in on Test debut and really shake up things and live up to the hype if you like, even some of the hype he put on himself.

"It makes for a very interesting last three games. He makes things happen when not many in world cricket can."

Marnus Labuschagne falls to the ground after being struck on the helmet by a delivery from Jofra Archer. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Marnus Labuschagne falls to the ground after being struck on the helmet by a delivery from Jofra Archer. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Australian captain Tim Paine became the last of Archer's three victims for the day when he miscued a hook shot to square leg where Joe Denly pulled off an absolute screamer of a catch, flying horizontal to the ground as he plucked the ball out of the air with an outstretched left hand.

While the Aussie gloveman praised Archer, he also said he knows his teammates are capable of handling the frightening prospect of going up against him again when the third Test kicks off in Leeds on Thursday.

"I thought Jofra bowled really well in this game. I thought particularly in the first innings - I think we faced 100 odd overs - so there were periods of times where I thought we batted really well, played Jofra well," Paine said.

"I think at times he's very difficult to start your innings against because of the pace and the bounce that he gets. But again, I think the guys who got in showed that it is doable.

"Guys have been around bowling 145, 150km/h for a long time. It's a challenge but that's why we're playing Test cricket.

"Guys bowling at that pace take time to get used to and Jofra bowls from quite a height. He gets steep bounce. It can take a little bit of time to get used to, there's no doubt about that."

Jofra Archer could change the series. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Jofra Archer could change the series. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

With a short turnaround between Tests the tourists don't have much time to get used to Archer and the challenge for the team's batting unit may become even tougher if Smith doesn't recover from his head knock in time and is ruled out of the Headingley clash.

Before the second innings the 30-year-old had scored 37 per cent of Australia's runs this series - showing just how reliant the side has been on the man many are calling the best since Bradman - and Archer will be licking his lips at the prospect of exposing an understrength top six. Once his body recovers.