In one of the most breathtaking hours of Test cricket in recent memory, ex-Australian cricketer Lisa Sthalekar has paid tribute to & # 39; Smith v Archer & # 39; battle as one of the & # 39; big & # 39; individual ash blows.
Speaking exclusively to Wide world of sports, Sthalekar said it didn't matter if you were a seasoned cricket tragic or just a passing fan of fleeting interest that you simply couldn't look away.
"It was (one of the best) spells I've seen (in Ashes cricket)," Sthalekar said.
"I was literally on the edge of my seat and I was riding every single ball. It was remarkable – you couldn't take your eyes off it."
The spell she was talking about took place midway through the second session on day four, when Jofra Archer was handed the Duke ball. Smith, who had moved smoothly to 70 * was turned up by an over of shorter bowling from the English firebrand quickly.
Smith was up to the challenge, though, and weaved with all his usual full-screen idiosyncrasies and tics.
However, it was only a pre-marker of what was to come.
From there, Archer bowed nearly three straight overs for the Australian ex-skipper before getting a ball to rise steeply and hitting him square on his forearm. Smith snarled and grimaced as he struggled to grab the top of the flag in surplus.
Then, after Archer bowed the fastest recorded in English test history (an average speed of 92.79 mph), he bowled a ball straight backward for a length.
Smith, caught between ducking and playing a shot, turned his head and was hit flush at the back of the helmet – the ball splashed to square leg as Smith crashed to the ground.
A hush passed over Lord & # 39; s as concerned spectators waited for movement. Eventually, Smith was able to rise and move around the crease before being escorted off the field to be assessed by doctors under the new concussion rules.
Fortunately, Peter Siddle and Pat Cummins then combined for 40 minutes, allowing Australian medical staff to complete all the necessary tests and checks before the former was dismissed, bringing Smith back to the crisis in a remarkable show of courage and determination.
According to Sthalekar, Archer's enchantment proved what he had found for English cricket.
"His (Archer & # 39; s) influence on English cricket has been nothing short of a miracle," Sthalekar said.
"He entered the World Cup, and wasn't even selected first. Then, when he entered the squad – you felt they could win it, and so did they."
"Then he missed the first test due to a sideline tension, but we knew when he came in that he would bowl quickly and make a living off the wicket and challenge the one he was bending against," Sthalekar continued.
The Ex-Test wicket-keeper summed up the spelling nicely.
"Archer & # 39; s magic form on this day will remain in the collective memory for a long, long time."