My brother is a football fan.
The kind, who rebelled against the tyranny of cricket over all other sports in the country. So, he often mocks me for watching test matches. What is the fun in watching someone run in for 40 meters and bowl, only for the batsman to shoulder arms and let it through to the keeper?
Today, when Archer was delivering one of the fastest spells by a bowler for England (since recorded data), my brother happened to be in my room. First, he saw Steve Smith get hit on his neck. Some sort of instinctive response came out. It had a little bit of concern and a fair bit of appreciation for the bowler. In the next couple of balls, the seemingly languid Archer was making Cummings hop in desperation again. My brother uttered the following words which were music to my ears:
“That is scary bowling.”
I quickly retorted, “this is test match cricket”.
He chuckled and walked away.
Australian were bowled out soon and England was on the receiving end in a slightly different way. But my mind kept going back to that spell of Archer. According to CricViz, this was the 2nd fastest spell Steve Smith has ever faced in cricket. Despite it not being a particularly fast cricket pitch, the man from Barbados was lethal. English bowling which looked toothless against Smith in the last match, had new life.
Initially, when Steve Smith came into bat, Archer was well into his spell. Something the English coach might have pointed out to the captain after the days’ play. Smith is playing on simply a different level than anyone else in the world. However, after being hit on the arm and the neck, there was a visible difference in his demeanour.
To his credit, he did come out to score those extra 12 runs to reach 92. However, this brutal attack from Archer will certainly have an impact on the whole Australian batting line up.
Tomorrow might be a day when Archer might have to hang in with the bat to help England escape with a draw. However, in the years to come, he will certainly help invigorate test cricket and attract new fans.
I just hope one of them would be my brother.