Ashes 2019: Archer not about to ease up on Aussies, warns Stokes

By Sports Desk August 19, 2019

Ben Stokes has told Australia they should expect no respite from England fast bowler Jofra Archer when the third Ashes Test begins at Headingley on Thursday.

The visitors' star batsman Steve Smith will face tests to ascertain whether he can take part in Leeds, having worn a vicious bouncer from Archer at Lord's.

The delayed onset of concussion symptoms led to Smith having to sit out an absorbing final day – his replacement Marnus Labuschagne also copping some Archer punishment before helping to save a draw after Stokes' superb unbeaten 115 put England in command.

"It's part of the game and a big part of Jofra's game, being aggressive, not letting batsmen settle. That bouncer of his is a huge asset and he's going to keep on doing it," the all-rounder told reporters.

"When someone takes a nasty blow, no bowler is going to say, 'I'm not going to bowl that again because I don't want to hit them again'. The concern is always there when someone takes it. But next ball, when you get back to the mark, it's [a case of], 'I'm going to keep doing it'.

"We've seen Mitchell Johnson do it to us, especially in 2013-14, but Jofra just makes it look so easy, like he's walking in to bowl. And I'd rather have him on my team than have to face him. He's a frightening talent."

Jos Buttler was fielding at short leg when Smith was felled by the blow to his neck, making him first on the scene to check his opponent's wellbeing.

Along with Buttler, Archer and Stokes were also team-mates of Smith's with the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.

"We've got a good relationship from playing together and so does Jofra," Stokes said. "I messaged him [that evening] and had a little giggle with him, which was good, saying, 'Jofra's a good shot to hit that pea-head'. I think he was in as good fettle as he could have been.

"I was leg slip when it happened. It just hit flesh – not one of the nicest things to see on a cricket field. Someone going straight down like that was a pretty scary couple of minutes for everyone out there. It was great seeing him get back up."

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  • Rugby World Cup 2019: England have earned the right to be among the favourites – Dallaglio Rugby World Cup 2019: England have earned the right to be among the favourites – Dallaglio

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    Billy Vunipola, though, will line up against Tonga 20 years after his father and uncle represented the Pacific islanders against England in a World Cup contest.

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    England – Ben Youngs 

    Ben Youngs, 30, will earn his 90th cap and become the first scrum-half to play in three World Cups for England.

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    Tonga - Nasi Manu

    Nasi Manu has been named among Tonga's replacements and if he takes to the field it will be an emotional moment. The number eight did not play for club Benetton or his country in 2018 and could play his first Test since recovering from cancer, having undergone months of chemotherapy.

    "I had tears just then," he said after Tonga's welcome ceremony. "I don't think anybody knows just how much I have been through to get here. Not only the surgery and chemotherapy, but also the physical battle to get myself in good enough shape." 


    KEY OPTA FACTS

    - England have won only two of their last five games at Rugby World Cups, including a 60-3 triumph over Uruguay in their most recent fixture.

    - England have surpassed 40 points scored in a game on three occasions thus far in 2019; the last time they did so more times in a calendar year was in 2003 (7), including two instances in their triumphant 2003 campaign.

    - No player has scored more Test tries thus far in 2019 than England flyer Jonny May, whose six tries are level with German Kessler Lordon (Uruguay) and Joe Taufete'e (USA).

    - Siale Piutau's next appearance will be his 40th in Test rugby for Tonga, becoming just the fourth Tongan to reach the mark.

    - Kurt Morath (73) has scored more points at the Rugby World Cup than any other player for Tonga, including a 28-point haul during the group stage of the 2015 tournament.

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