Jofra Archer’s firebolts, Warner-Roy flop show: Key takeaways from second Ashes test
Test debutant Archer justified his billing by taking five wickets as England came close to pulling off an unlikely victory in a drawn, rain-affected match at Lord’s.
The second Ashes test at the Home of Cricket was a complete package. While England dominated an Austalian side sans the concussed Steven Smith and threatened to seize victory via Jofra Archer’s fireballs, substitute Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head put up a dogged fight to deny the hosts the chance to level the series.
Earlier, Ben Stokes scored a second-innings century--one that was composed and counter-attacking in equal measure--to give England an edge. And had this Lord’s test gone their way, it would’ve been mighty difficult to pick one man for the award.
The overall arching takeaway from the match was that rain will forever be the enemy of cricket purists. The first day of the second Ashes test was washed out and when things got incredibly exciting on the final day, down came the drizzle eating up 70 minutes of the morning session.
That, however, didn’t dampen the raging fire and steely guts of the men in whites who showed us that test cricket is special and it’s here to stay. Here are key takeaways from the match.
The fiery Archer
England had lost James Anderson, their all-time leading test wicket-taker, to injury. They couldn't get Steve Smith out and had been forced to drop Moeen Ali.
Jofra Archer turned up at Lord's and snatched the initiative. He bowled 44 overs in this match and by the time they were over he had proved himself the most lethal fast bowler in the world.
He has hit 19 batsmen in the body and head in the short time he has been playing international cricket with his ‘Fire Style: Fireball Jutsu’. He got Smith, the best batsman in the world, under the ear after he had been at the crease for four hours, and this means trouble for Aussie men when they head for the fourth test in Headingley.
Jofra Archer - Average Speed - Today— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) August 18, 2019
1st Over - 135.5 kph
2nd Over - 141.7 kph
3rd Over - 140.5 kph
4th Over - 142.7 kph
5th Over - 143.9 kph#Ashes
Most times hit a batsman body/ helmet (since Archer’s debut):
Jofra Archer: 19
Pat Cummins: 12
Mark Wood: 9
Kemar Roach: 8
Kagiso Rabada: 7
The unrelenting Smith
Steve Smith is unstoppable, especially in tests. Earlier, it took a year’s suspension and now a body blow to keep him off the pitch. That he even came out to bat after being hit twice in the arm and the back of his neck in an intense spell from Archer, goes to show his unrelenting hunger to perform. He was diagnosed with a concussion, but Smith hoped to play in the third match at Headingley.
Smith’s last seven Ashes innings scores read 239, 76, 102*, 83, 144, 142 and 92. He followed his two centuries in Edgbaston with a 92 at Lord's and has now overtaken Kane Williamson in the ICC Test Rankings for batsmen. Just so you know: he’s now trailing the top-ranked Virat Kohli by only nine points!
Stokes to the rescue!
Intensity, responsibility and some of the old swagger! Had it not been for that lovely century from Ben Stokes, England would’ve been in a spot of bother. He scored 115 not out before captain Joe Root declared England’s second innings on 258-5.
Openers Warner & Roy’s flop show continues
David Warner and Jason Roy, the two opening batsmen who led the exploits for their respective teams in the World Cup 2019 at an average of 65+, have failed miserably in both the Ashes tests.
When Roy was picked, most were in agreement that his white-ball form warranted a chance at test cricket. But the swashbuckling opener has had a poor game so far with the scores of 10, 28, 0, and 2.
David Warner - First Four Innings - Post Ban— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) August 18, 2019
ODIs - 89*, 3, 56, 107
Tests - 2, 8, 3, 5#Ashes
But if Roy thinks he had a bad game, he can console himself with a glance at David Warner. A bad first test followed up by a worse second, Warner is not enjoying his return to the test arena. He is now four innings into the series and is yet to score double digits.
Who’s got the best leave: Steve Smith or Courtney Walsh?
Throwback to Courtney Walsh's extravagant leaves. This is gold! That fist pump though.— All Rounder Cricket (@AllRounderCrick) October 12, 2018
Tag a mate who loves a leave... pic.twitter.com/flp2ggtVrL
An undisputed winner, then?