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Stuart Broad looking forward to another Jofra Archer-Steven Smith duel

Stuart Broad is excited to see the resumption of the "awesome" competition between Steve Smith and Jofra Archer when the Ashes resumes in Manchester on Wednesday.

While Broad welcomed the return of Smith after the worrying injury he sustained at Lord's, he warned that Test cricket was a "brutal sport" and there would be no respite in England's attempt to discomfort him.

Smith was obliged to miss the Leeds Test after sustaining a delayed concussion injury when hit on the neck by an Archer bouncer at Lord's. While Smith resumed his innings after a short period off the pitch, he appeared somewhat skittish and soon fell leg before having left a straight ball. Underlining his confused state, he called for a review of the decision but then walked off before it was confirmed.

Also read: 'We felt a bit like we got the Ashes stolen' - Langer

But while some have suggested he may be somewhat nervous when facing Archer, Smith has pointed out that the bowler has not actually dismissed him in the series. All of which has left Broad looking forward to another gripping passage of play between the pair.

"Firstly, it's great that Steve is ok and coming back into Test cricket," Broad said. "No one wants to see anyone miss cricket through a head injury. It was a nasty hit. It's great to have him back.

"But Test cricket is a brutal sport. Sides go hell for leather against each other. So I'm sure that, when Steve comes in, Jofra will be in Joe Root's ear wanting the ball. And I'll be excited when he does.

"It was a really tasty bit of cricket at Lord's. Smith was on 70 or 80 and playing beautifully, but suddenly Jofra went from bowling 84mph to bowling 95mph. He was really charging in. That's the intensity - the theatre - Test cricket brings.

"That sort of cricket is awesome to watch on the telly or from the stands but when you're stood at mid-on it's pretty special. Hopefully we can have a battle like that again.

"The dream is someone nicks him off first ball and Jofra doesn't get to bowl at him. But Smith does average 60-something. So there will probably be a period in this game where those two come together again and, touch wood, I'm on the pitch to view it."

Broad has had his own experience of trouble against the short ball. He was memorably struck in the eye while batting against India at Old Trafford, the scene of this week's Test, in 2014. Top-edging his attempted pull off Varun Aaron, he sustained a badly broken nose and admitted he suffered nightmares as a consequence. He used psychologists to help recover but, before the injury, he averaged 23.95 with the bat in Test cricket with one century and 10 half-centuries. Since then, he has averaged 13.18 with just two half-centuries.

While he believes Smith is unlikely to suffer such extreme consequences, it has left Broad grateful for the improved protection offered by modern helmets.

"Smith has a bit more skill than me with the bat so it probably won't affect him," Broad said. "I don't think I've ever played in a series where so many people have even hit in the head. I can't even describe why. Obviously both sets of fast bowlers are bowling well and looking in good rhythm. The pitches have maybe played slightly untrue and a bit two-paced: one will skid through and one will slow down. It feels like the doctors are running out every 10 overs.

"But it's part of Test cricket. You bowl a bouncer not to hit someone in the head, you bowl a bouncer to maneuverer footwork and change momentum of bodyweight. But your best bouncer is directed over leg stump and at the head, unfortunately. But fortunately the helmets are much better now."

While Archer's confrontation against Smith may gain the headlines, Broad's private competition against David Warner has been just as absorbing. Broad has dismissed him four times in the three Tests and feels he is reaping the rewards for bowling a fuller length. But he warned that the pitches for the final two Tests could be better for batsmen and praised Warner's batting in the first innings in Leeds.

"It's been a great battle so far," Broad said. "I've really enjoyed it. I had to look quite closely pre-series as, until this series, he had probably had the better of me.

"I'd always focussed on his outside edge thinking that running the ball across him would bring in the slips. But the bloke has incredible hand-eye coordination, so if you miss your line at all it seems to disappear through the covers.

"I had a change of mindset in this series and have tried to bring the stumps into play more against him. I've looked to nip it back onto off-stump and then, if the ball holds its line, it brings the outside edge in and that actually limits the scoring options slightly.

"Also, the pitches have been in our favour with the new ball. I don't want to take too much credit that I've out-thought him or anything. It's been a really good time to bowl with that new ball.

"But Test cricket always moves on and this pitch will be very different to Lord's or Headingley. And on that first morning at Headingley it was probably as good a time to bowl as you'll ever get in Test cricket: cloudy, heavy, swinging, seaming. He might have played and missed a lot but he got through that period and got a pretty crucial fifty. He'll take confidence from that."