Ashes 2019: What comes next after Lord's thriller as Australia and England eye glory at Headingley

Concussion is the buzzword of this Ashes week after Jofra Archer’s scintillating Test cricket debut.

The 24-year-old fast bowler set the contest truly alight with his barely believable display of fast bowling at Lord’s on Saturday.

Although that Test ended in a draw, due to a combination of poor weather and questionable fielding, the rest of the series promises a mouth-watering contest.

It was even compared with the famous 2005 series, which inspired an entire generation.

So, with that in mind, we take a look at the state of play and what lies ahead.

Australia hold the lead... but for how long?

Steve Smith scored 144 and 142 in his two innings at Edgbaston en route to Australia winning the first Test (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The visitors have not won a series in England since 2001 and will be hoping to put an end to their long 18-year wait.

An astonishing win at Edgbaston in the opening Test means Tim Paine’s side have the initiative. And as current holders, they only need a draw in the series to retain the urn.

As a result, a rain-affected draw at Lord’s for the second match means they are effectively one win away from that goal.

But the nature of that draw leaves the series firmly in the balance; Archer threatened Australia in a fashion they were not expecting. Now they must respond - and do so without their star man.

England, fresh off the back of a World Cup triumph, will be eager to get their first win under their belt and seize upon the momentum handed to them.

So, what’s next?

The next Test, at Headingley, begins on Thursday (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

Three Test matches, each five days in length. The next begins on August 22, at Headingley.

England must win the series to regain the Ashes, which poses a problem in so far as one slip up will cost them the series.

If the hosts did somehow lose the third Test, though, there would be a draw to play for.

In addition, this series is the start of the inaugural World Test Championship, a scheme designed to add context to Test series around the world.

So if England find themselves 2-0 down at the end of this week, there are always crucial points in the Championship up for grabs.

But it is hard to see that being the situation, given the position they find themselves in.

Who are favourites?

England captain Joe Root will have big decisions to make to salvage the Ashes (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

For the third Test, it would be remiss to back any other option than England.

With Archer finding his feet immediately and Australia’s only realistic threat in Smith being ruled out, it’s a case of now or never for the hosts.

Although both batting line-ups have failed to fire thus far - with Rory Burns a significant exception - it would appear England are closer to repairing their issues after Lord’s.

Ben Stokes made a century en route to putting his side in a commanding position, while Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow spent some much-needed time in the middle.

And all the while Archer and Jack Leach made serious inroads in limited time to an already fragile Australian batting order.

Will we see the end of the short-pitched delivery?

Smith was struck on the back of the neck by the delivery, which was in excess of 92mph. (Photo by Jed Leicester/Getty Images)

You can absolutely bet against the bouncer being in short supply at Headingley.

Archer, on debut, contrived to find a way of getting Steve Smith out before the 140 mark, which is certainly an improvement on England’s first Test bowling.

Since Smith was dismissed for his paltry 92 and subsequently deemed to have been concussed, debate has re-emerged over whether it should be a permissible delivery.

There have been suggestions the visiting side will retaliate by inundating England’s batsmen with bouncers of their own.

And although coach Justin Langer dismissed the idea, we certainly won’t see a drop-off in the number of short balls.

Can express man Archer keep it up?

England's express man has turned the series on its head (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Fans and pundits alike were left surprised to see the new England bowler called upon as often as he was - even if he did exceed expectations.

He bowled 44 overs combined, a stretch even for a man with his bowling style.

It comes off the back of a side strain he picked up during the World Cup and calls into question whether he will be able to maintain a similar level of quality and pace in the next Test.

Some, like former West Indies pace bowler Michael Holding, slammed England’s regular use of Archer.

“It’s abuse,” Holding told the Telegraph. “When I was bowling, we had three other quicks just as fast. We could share the burden.

“He relies on rhythm and looks very relaxed running in. All that is in his favour but it is not sustainable for England to use him like this in every match.”

Do England risk exhausting him?

Will we see a result this time?

With any luck, the rain will stay away from Leeds. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Almost two full days of rain put paid to either side’s chances of a second Test win at Lord’s.

Indeed, the rain which delayed the start of the match even had an impact on proceedings, with visiting skipper Paine opting to bowl first after winning the toss.

It was a brave move, made in light of further showers forecasted, and a bid which ultimately backfired as they were bowled out shy of England’s first innings score.

The good news for both sides, though, is that the forecast for the next five days has cleared up.

According to the Met Office, it should remain a mixture of sunny and cloudy, without too much threat of rain.

Bring it on.

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