• ‘I’m not here for a contest with one man’

    Batsman Steven Smith and fast bowler Jofra Archer’s verbal joust continued on Thursday, as England and Australia prepared for next week’s fourth Ashes series Test at Old Trafford in Manchester.

    Smith was felled by a short delivery from Archer in the second Test at Lord’s and was consequently sidelined from the third at Headingley in Leeds due to a concussion.

    The Australian will likely return to the XI for the Manchester fixture. Earlier this week, Smith reminded all and sundry that Archer hasn’t taken his wicket yet.

    ‘Well, I can’t get him out if he wasn’t there. I did want to bowl at him when he came back out at Lord’s, but he was out before I even got to come back on. But there’ll be more than ample time to get him out,’ retaliated Archer.

    ‘I’m not here to get caught up in a contest with one man. I want to win the Ashes.’

    Right-armer Archer’s bowling speeds have escalated to as high as 96 mph (155 km/h) this month. Whether he can maintain this high pace for the rest of the series remains in the balance.

    ‘I’m an optimist so I’ll say yes, but if I don’t I’m OK. Bowling fast doesn’t get people out, you still need to put the ball in the right area. I’m all here for bowling fast but I’m also here to get wickets,’ he added.

    Photo: Getty Images

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