Ashes: Jofra and his lethal fast bowling arc

By Aakash Kumar

New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) Barbados-born Jofra Archer had one of the most memorable Test debuts in the recent times during the second Ashes Test between England and Australia at Lord's.

He announced himself in the red-ball circuit with a relentless, hostile spell of fast bowling which put even the likes of Steve Smith in all sorts of discomfort during the course of the game, reminding fans of the famous bodyline series.

Even though the second Ashes Test ended in a draw, it provided cricket lovers across the world with a glimpse of what was there in store in the future.

One of the moments of the game -- although it led to the England player skipping a beat -- was when Archer bowled a ferocious bouncer to Smith which floored the former Australian skipper.

Smith, who had struck twin centuries in the Ashes 2019 opener, was on 80 not out on the fourth afternoon when he was struck in the neck by a steepling 92.4mph (148 kmph) bouncer from the debutant.

Before that, the 32-year-old had already received treatment for a nasty blow on the left forearm and fended off a lightning fast 96.1mph ball aimed at his ribs. But the ball which hit his neck had him at the deck immediately and he remained on the floor for an extended period before heading back to the dressing room for treatment.

The Archer delivery which made Smith retire was a unique one in the sense that it wasn't that short. However, it was the pace of 92.4mph that made it such a lethal delivery and gave fans and cricketers the fright.

Marnus Labuschagne, who replaced Smith as Test cricket's first ever concussion substitute, too had to face the fire from the 24-year-old England pacer on the fifth day of the Test match.

Just like Smith, Archer served up another brutal short ball -- just the second one that Labuschagne faced -- that struck the batsman flush on the helmet grill.

Labuschagne, like Smith, too was floored, but he was quickly back on his feet and wanted to get a quick move on even as England fielders showed concern for him.

Various safety measures have been brought into place and the laws of the game have also been changed to ensure safety of the cricketers.

However, what made or what makes Archer's bouncer all the more lethal and dangerous is there's no change is action of the 24-year-old and he doesn't seem to put in any extra effort while bowling a short-pitched delivery.

There's a rhythm in Archer's action and it makes it very tough for the batsman to judge whether he is about to bowl a bouncer.

"He doesn't have any tells. Some bowlers you get a tell when they're going to bowl a bouncer or a different ball," says England all-rounder Ben Stokes while speaking about Archer's bouncers.

And with three more Test to go in the Ashes, Australia can expect the same hostility and fire from Archer. Bodyline series anyone?

--IANS

aak/bbh

Related Articles

Leave a Comment