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Warne expects Archer to challenge Smith in the Ashes
The Ashes 2019

Warne expects Archer to challenge Smith in the Ashes

Shane Warne has singled out Jofra Archer as the only candidate among the England bowlers who could bring an end to Steve Smith's sublime Ashes run-spree.

Archer was part of England's World Cup-winning squad last month and was instrumental in leading his side to victory in the dramatic finale when he bowled the Super Over after scores were tied by the end of 50 overs of each innings.

Since then, Archer's appearances in competitive cricket have been relatively few as he was rested by the selectors to recover from his side strain sustained during the showpiece event.

He is now in line to make his Test debut when the two Ashes rivals meet next week for the second match at Lord's following a remarkable all-round performance for his 2nd XI county side Sussex.

Meanwhile, Australia's batting virtuoso Smith churned out masterful knocks across both innings of the opening Ashes Test to set up a commanding 251-run win over the hosts.

Smith's remarkable comeback to Test cricket, after being banned for a period of 12 months for his role in the ball-tampering controversy, was characterized by delectable strokes and complete dominance over the opposition's bowling attack.

Warne, however, believes Archer's express pace could trouble Smith in the Ashes since England have been lacking the 'X factor' in their fast bowling stocks.

Warne pointed out Archer's experience of playing alongside Smith in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Rajasthan Royals would help the Sussex quick.

"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.

'No one likes to face 90 mph bowlers'

Warne, the second-highest wicket-taker in Test history with 708 scalps, reckoned the addition of Archer in England's line-up added another dimension to their bowling unit.

"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."

Archer has big shoes to fill in the absence of England's most successful bowler James Anderson but Warne felt the youngster had the attributes to make the opportunity count.

"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."

On the other hand, Archer dismissed the notion of his IPL stint alongside Smith working in his favour.

"To be honest, I didn't bowl at him much.

"A lot of the guys probably don't want to face me or (West Indies quick) 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," he added.

The Barbados-born Archer was fast-tracked into the national side just ahead of the World Cup and ended the tournament as the leading wicket-taker for his adopted country.

Despite having clashed with Australia two times in the ICC event, Archer could not get Smith out.