Ricky Ponting said Jofra Archer’s hostile spell against Australia at Lord’s on Day 4 of the second Ashes Test against England reminded him of the opening morning of the famous 2005 series at the same venue which had left him with a bloodied cheek.
Archer dished out a fiery spell on Saturday, leaving Steve Smith on the ground after being struck on the unprotected back of his neck by a bouncer clocking 92.4 miles per hour.
Ponting compared the spell with the one England’s Steve Harmison bowled during the famous 2005 Ashes series, in which he hit Australian openers Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer before leaving the former skipper with a bloodied cheek.
“That was a really fiery morning and last night brought back a few memories of what it was like,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“I remember when I got hit, I think ‘Vaughny’ (England captain Michael Vaughan) said to his players, ‘no-one go and say a word to him and check if he is OK’ Which was fine by me, because my eyes were going a bit as it was, so I reckon I would have told them to get away in no uncertain terms anyway!”
Archer’s body blow forced Smith to retire hurt while batting at 80. He, however, returned in less than an hour to take the crease and was eventually dismissed when he shouldered arms to a straight ball from Chris Woakes, just eight runs short of a century.
Ponting, however, said it won’t define the Test match and an experienced Smith won’t have any fear in his mind when he takes guard against Archer next time.
“I don’t think it will be a series-defining spell. He has made 92 again. I know he’d made 70 or so before he copped that first knock ... and I wouldn’t be surprised if they do attack him a bit more now,” said Ponting.
“But the one thing I like is that Archer didn’t get Smith out. Smithy got through it without losing his wicket. Assuming everything is OK with that blow in the neck, he’ll front up and do it all again in the second innings.”
The legendary Australian batsman said Smith coming back to bat might seem incredibly courageous to the average person sitting back and watching it, but that’s what is expected of a Test batsman.
“He (Smith) won’t have any fear because it’s just what you do every day. You face bowlers in the nets every day and you get hit every now and then. But certainly nothing changes in your mindset,” Ponting said.