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Archer leads England charge as Labuschagne takes blow to the head
After striking Steve Smith’s neck with a delivery on Saturday, Archer hit the former captain’s replacement in the grille.
Jofra Archer took two wickets and landed another fierce blow on an Australian helmet as he backed up Ben Stokes’ century to lead England’s late push for an Ashes victory at Lord’s.
The fifth and final day began with the news that the 92mph bouncer Archer speared into Steve Smith’s neck had forced him out of the game and, in the afternoon session, Marnus Labuschagne – Test cricket’s first concussion substitute – carried on after being smashed in the head by another fierce delivery.
Archer had already dismissed David Warner and Usman Khawaja as England attempted to bowl Australia out in 48 overs, an equation only made possible by Stokes’ superb 115 not out.
Resuming on 96 for four, England leant on Stokes’ seventh Test ton to reach 258 for five – a lead of 266 – and captain Joe Root waved his men in just before 3.30pm
Jos Buttler was the only man to fall, top-edging Pat Cummins for 31, with Jonny Bairstow powering his way to a quick 30 in the afternoon session.
But the first part of the day belonged to Stokes on the same ground where his batting brilliance delivered victory in the World Cup final. He struck 11 fours and three sixes in all, motoring from 51 to 100 in just 48 balls after lunch.
Play was delayed by 70 minutes, finally getting under way at 12.10 but shaving 10 overs from the scheduled contest. Hopes of things accelerating quickly to a conclusion faded in a shortened morning session, with Stokes and Buttler seeing off 21.4 overs for the addition of a modest 61 runs.
With a steady platform fixed at the interval, England went on the attack after lunch. It cost Buttler his wicket, pulling Cummins to long leg off the top edge without adding to his score of 31, but the aggression was well placed.
Bairstow was first to unload, sauntering down the pitch to his seventh delivery and smashing Nathan Lyon for six. Stokes, having seen an lbw shout unsuccessfully referred, decided to follow suit against the spinner as he launched consecutive slog-sweeps over the ropes to take the lead past 200.
He had also reached 80 himself and was now within hitting range of his ton. The bat was swinging with regularity now, lashing Siddle through the covers and then powering Hazlewood for two masterful boundaries square on either side of the wicket.
On 99 he missed a reverse sweep as Lyon dropped one down leg, but two balls later a nudge-and-run brought him his long-awaited century.
A few more flourishes followed before Root waved the pair in, kicking off a belated victory push.
All eyes were inevitably on Archer and it took him just nine balls to deliver on the crowd’s lofty expectations. Coming around the wicket with pace he took David Warner’s outside edge with a full ball that sprayed low to third slip, where Rory Burns gathered smartly.
It was the combative opener’s fourth consecutive single-figure score of the series but the first not to end at Stuart Broad’s hand.
Khawaja was next, pushing at one that shaded away and flicked the edge on its way through to wicketkeeper Bairstow. Archer wheeled away in delight, roared on by the crowd.
That brought Labuschagne to the crease for his history-making role. But the concussion replacement was soon undergoing checks of his own, with the second ball he faced rearing wickedly into the grille of his helmet at 91.6mph and thrusting him to the floor.
The 25-year-old gamely carried on as he and Cameron Bancroft saw Australia to 46 for two, with 35 overs left for England to gather eight more scalps.