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Jofra Archer
World Test Championship

'Jofra will be Smith's biggest challenge yet' – Warne

Ashes news

Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne believes that Jofra Archer has the ability to put an end to Steve Smith's run-scoring spree.

Archer, 24, is set to make his long-format debut at Lord's in the second Ashes Test, which begins on Wednesday, 14 August, after missing the series opener due to a side injury. He is likely to replace the injured James Anderson, having proven his fitness in a 2nd XI match for county side Sussex.

Warne was of the opinion that Archer's experience of having played alongside Smith for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League will benefit him when he tackles the star batsman. "Steve [Smith] has been the star of the show so far, but now we have Jofra joining his Royals [and England] team-mates Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler," Warne said.

Smith scored 144 and 142 in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston
Smith scored 144 and 142 in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston

Smith, who returned to Test cricket after a year-long ban, made 144 and 142 in the opening Ashes Test and was the chief architect of Australia's 251-run win over the hosts at Edgbaston. Although Warne wants Smith to keep performing with the same intensity for the rest of the series, he expressed concern about his chances against Archer.

"Obviously, I would love to see Steve go on and score a hundred in every single innings for the rest of the Ashes, but with Jofra coming in, I think he'll be set to face his biggest challenge yet, and this could make the difference in the upcoming Tests.

"No one likes to face tall 90-mph bowlers. The loss of Anderson was such a blow for England, and they will really need Jofra to step up, but I think he has all the attributes to do just that. They [Archer and Smith] will have faced each other a lot in the nets, so if anyone will have a plan, it will be Jofra."

Archer, for his part, said that he had not spent a lot of time monitoring Smith in the IPL, but did acknowledge that he is likely to have picked up a few things about the batsman from sharing the dressing room with him. 

"To be honest, I didn't bowl at him much," he said. "A lot of the guys probably don't want to face me or [West Indies fast bowler] Oshane Thomas in the nets. But when you play with them, you pick up on things you won't normally notice when you're just playing against them."

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