England thought that Smith would be useless and that Jofra Archer would be bowling again with extreme pace. Instead, Smith looked composed than ever and was not worried about English misfiring. That’s how the situation was on day one of the fourth Test according to Ian Healy.
Smith reached stumps on 60 no out, adding scores 144,142 and 92 this series and an average of 146. The right-hander also had a lot of confidence despite missing the last Test due to a concussion. He made his 60 from 97 balls and hit seven boundaries. He scored with ease in the Manchester pitch.
Healy went on to tell the Wide World of Sports that Smith was playing more shots than he has ever in this series. He added that he is keen to punish the wrong ball and put it away. On England, he said that their bowling was less impressive after they removed opener, David Warner.
Two former England captains agreed that when Archer is criticized, so is skipper Joe Root. Archer speed was slowest so far of the series at Old Trafford. Root was also weak at positioning him against Smith. Smith never really faced Archer in the first session, but England was talking up the head-to-head battle even before the Test.
Ex-captain Nasser Hussain writing to the Daily Mail said that Root deserved more criticism than Archer. He added that Root had two options, he could have bowled Archer for a more extended first spell than the five overs he gave him. Roots didn’t also mind to tell Archer to go to Smith with bouncers from round the wicket for three or four overs. It was like England never understood the situation.
The group bowled poorly.
Former skipper Michael Atherton also added that Root only succeeded in annoying Broad with his poor handling of Archer. Archer’s speed decreased since his Test debut at Lord’s, where he bowled 44 overs including 29 in the first innings.
Hussain added that England should examine why his pace was so bad at Old Trafford in such a critical moment. England will then know how they can use Archer to the best of his ability both in this Test and in the future.
The Australian superstar is back in his position, and Archer will face him on the second day of Test. Aussies and Mitchell Starc are ready to unleash their power on England.