Jos Buttler believes Jofra Archer’s “X factor” can re-energise England’s Ashes challenge, with the paceman in line to make a much-anticipated Test debut at Lord’s this week.
Australia took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series after winning the first Test at Edgbaston earlier this month by the thumping margin of 251 runs.
Archer is likely to play in the match starting on Wednesday in place of England’s record wicket-taker James Anderson, who is sidelined by a calf injury.
“He’s got the X factor,” Buttler said of his fellow World Cup winner. “In his short international career so far we’ve seen what an impact he’s had. He’s got amazing skills with the white ball, but talking to him he prefers bowling with the red one. That’s exciting for us, and it’s exciting for the world to see him in the Test arena. He tends to cope with expectation well, he’s a pretty laid-back character who has an immense trust in his game. So if he gets his chance I expect him to perform really well.”
Australia won the Ashes opener despite stumbling to 122 for eight on the opening day, with man-of-the-match Steve Smith hitting two centuries.
“We played some good cricket at Edgbaston, but we didn’t play well enough for long enough,” Buttler said. “The challenge is still the same. Every time you come and play at Lord’s is special, especially in an Ashes Test. There’s no need to panic. We’re 1-0 down but there’s four matches to go in this series.”
The key to England’s hopes of victory is finding a way to dismiss Smith, who now averages nearly 63 in Test cricket.
Buttler knows Smith well as the two men were teammates at the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League this year.
“He’s pretty good, isn’t he?” Buttler said. “What he does is put you under pressure for a long period of time and puts demands on you. He’s a fantastic player who can take advantage of that. He’s been one of the best players for a while now and that’s the challenge of playing Test cricket against Australia.”