Ashes 4th Test preview: expect more theatre from Jofra Archer and Steve Smith


The Ashes 2019 4th Test match
  • When: 4-8 September 
  • Where: Old Trafford, Manchester 
  • Daily start time: 11am (BST) 
  • TV coverage: live on Sky Sports, highlights on Channel 5 
  • The series is tied at 1-1 after three Tests 

After Ben Stokes’s exploits in winning the third Ashes Test – and levelling the series – England feel the momentum is with them, even if James Anderson has been ruled out of the final two matches. 

The pace bowler has failed to recover from his calf injury, which means the onus will once more be on Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer.

The duo will spearhead the England bowling attack in the fourth Ashes Test, which starts on Wednesday at Old Trafford in Manchester.

If Stokes has been England’s hero with the bat, then Archer is the man who has been thrilling crowds with his hostile fast bowling. 

He felled Steve Smith with a bouncer in the second Test at Lord’s, and the Australian star batsman had to sit out the third Test with concussion.

He’s back for Old Trafford and Smith is as bullish as ever, reminding reporters last week that Archer may be fast but he hasn’t managed to get him out thus far.

England bowler Jofra Archer has impressed in his first two matches in Test cricket

Up for it

Broad believes Smith may come to regret those comments. “Jofra is a fantastic bowler – but he’s an even better bowler when he gets challenged,” Broad told BBC Sport

“I know when Steve Smith walks to the crease, Jofra will be walking to [captain] Joe Root saying: ‘Give me that ball’.”

The prospect of another spellbinding confrontation between Smith and Archer is one to whet the appetite – for the players as well as the public. 

“I’m going to be a very interested viewer from mid-on because they’re two world-class players going against each other, with a little bit of verbal niggle going around as well,” said Broad. 

“That’s what Ashes cricket is about – the theatre, the excitement, the enjoyment.”

Stolen goods

There wasn’t much enjoyment for the Australians after they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at Headingley, but head coach Justin Langer believes there will be no psychological hangover from what happened in Yorkshire. 

On the contrary, he declared, the Aussies are itching to avenge the defeat. 

“We felt a bit like we got the Ashes stolen the other day,” said Langer. “They won that Test match, so we felt a bit like it’d been stolen from us. Now we’ve got to work out what we’re going to do, and use that as fire. We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves and let it slip.”

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Sing when you’re winning

Nathan Lyon, in particular, had a match to forget at Headingley and it was his fumble in attempting to run out Jack Leach that cost Australia the match, and the chance to clinch the Ashes. 

Langer says he has “no doubt” that the spinner has shaken off the memory of his howler. But the Barmy Army have vowed to remind Lyon of his buttery fingers, especially as it was the spinner who in 2017 said he wanted to “end the careers” of some England players during the Ashes series. 

England’s diehard supporters have penned a song in tribute to Lyon – Don’t Look Up At Langer and it’s sung to the tune of the Oasis classic, Don’t Look Back In Anger.

Shuffling the pack

England are expected to field the same XI that started at Headingley, although Joe Denly has confirmed he will open the batting with Rory Burns. Jason Roy will replace Denly at No.4 in the order. 

“With Jason Roy in the team we are a better team,” said Denly. “With him coming in at four, hopefully with the new ball worn off and myself and Rory Burns doing our job at the top, it allows him to come in and play his way. He’s a great player to have there.”

Smith in for Khawaja

Australia have named a 12-man squad for the fourth Ashes Test in Manchester. Smith returns to the squad in place of Usman Khawaja while pace bowler Mitchell Starc is also recalled. 

Marnus Labuschagne, who stood in for Smith at Headingley, keeps his place in the squad after hitting three successive half-centuries.

Australia 12-man squad for the fourth Ashes Test 
  • David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matt Wade, Tim Paine (captain, wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
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England 13-man squad for the fourth Ashes Test
  • Joe Root (captain), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes 

Today’s back pages

Broad warns Smith over ‘brutal’ Ashes return



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