Ashes: England and Australia poised for gripping final day as Steve Smith's heroics take centre stage at Lord's
England had bowled out Australia for 250, Steve Smith making 92 after retiring hurt when he was struck on the neck by a venomous Archer bouncer
England will resume their bid to save the second Ashes Test at Lord's on 96-4, a lead of 104 runs over Australia, but it was the titanic tussle between debutant fast bowler Jofra Archer and batsman Steve Smith that grabbed all the attention on Day 4.
England had bowled out Australia for 250, Steve Smith making 92 after retiring hurt when he was struck on the neck by a venomous Archer bouncer.
Smith left the field for treatment and returned 40 minutes later, adding 12 runs before he was trapped lbw by Chris Woakes.
“It was a terrible blow and looked terrible at the time," Australia coach Justin Langer said. "We weren’t sure what would happen. The mind obviously goes into overdrive with the concussion rules and substitutes.
"Thankfully he is OK and in very good spirits. He went through all the concussion tests and analysis and there was no way we would have let him come back out otherwise.”
England, 1-0 down in the series, led by eight runs after the first innings but they quickly slumped to 9-2 on a gloomy evening as Pat Cummins dismissed Jason Roy and Joe Root in successive deliveries.
The fast bowler caught and bowled Roy for two and produced a superb outswinger which captain Root nicked to wicketkeeper Tim Paine.
Rory Burns and Joe Denly scrambled 55 runs for the third wicket, Denly making 26 before he was caught and bowled by Peter Siddle.
Burns's battling knock of 29 ended when he edged a lifting delivery from Siddle to Paine but Ben Stokes, dropped by David Warner at slip off Nathan Lyon, survived to reach 16 not out at the close with Jos Buttler on 10 to give England hope of setting the touring side a testing target on the final day.
The first day and much of the third were washed out by rain and Australia had resumed on 80-4 in reply to England's 258, losing only one wicket on a sunny morning when Matthew Wade, on six, edged Stuart Broad to Burns at third slip.
Archer, on his Test debut, and Woakes beat the bat on several occasions but Smith, who made 144 and 142 in Australia's emphatic first Test victory, again proved to be an immovable object.
Archer removed Paine for 23 after lunch, caught at short leg by Buttler, and he hit Smith on the arm before another rapid delivery in a hostile spell from the Barbados-born fast bowler struck the prolific right-hander's neck.
Smith fell to the ground and lay prone for several minutes, receiving treatment before getting to his feet and leaving the field to a standing ovation.
Siddle made nine before he edged Woakes to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, bringing Smith back to the crease.
He immediately went on the attack, hitting Woakes for successive boundaries before misjudging a straight delivery. Smith reviewed the decision but replays showed the ball would have hit the stumps and he trudged off to another warm reception.
The former Australia captain did not field in England's second innings as he went to hospital for a precautionary X-ray on his forearm.
England quickly wrapped up the tail, spinner Jack Leach dismissing Lyon and Broad snaring Cummins for 20.
“I still think it is an evenly-matched game," England bowelr Woakes said. "I think we are pleased not to be batting last on that surface but we still need enough of a lead to feel safe when we try to bowl Australia out.
"If they get two early wickets they will feel on top but we have two good batsmen in the middle and we feel we can build and get on top. It's evenly balanced."
Published: August 17, 2019 10:56 PM