Spotlight on Archer

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 14 Aug 2019

England are set to field a revamped attack featuring fast bowler Jofra Archer as they try to finally get Australia's batting star Steve Smith out cheaply and level the Ashes in the second Test at Lord's.

Holders Australia, bidding to win their first away Ashes series for 18 years, humbled England in the opener thanks in large part to Smith, who returned to this level following a 12-month ban over a ball-tampering scandal with two centuries as they cruised to a 251-run win at Edgbaston.

The defeat was made worse for England by the fact that James Anderson, their leading wicket-taker, broke down after bowling just four overs with a calf injury that has ruled the 37-year-old swing specialist out of theLord's encounter starting today.

"We got lucky," Australia coach Justin Langer said of Anderson's plight in the first Test. "He's a brilliant fast bowler, one of the all-time greats, so if he only bowls four overs for the match then we got lucky there.

"Here at Lord's there's different conditions and different pressures so we just have to make sure we're right for this Test."

Anderson's absence means England are set to give a Test debut to Archer, who will be returning to the ground where he bowled the dramatic Super Over that sealed a thrilling Cricket World Cup final win over New Zealand last month.

The 24-year-old has played just 28 first-class matches and Langer was looking to his batsmen to wear Archer down in a way that's not possible in a one-day international, where bowlers are restricted to a maximum of 10 overs.

A side strain had ruled Archer out of the first Test.

England are also set to field left-arm spinner Jack Leach after Moeen Ali was dropped.

Australia have left pace bowler James Pattinson out of their 12-man squad for the second Test, with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood vying for a recall. "What is fortunate at the moment is we've got six fit and healthy fast bowlers," said Langer.

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