Joe Root has fiercely defended the conduct of Jofra Archer, saying claims the express paceman didn’t show enough concern or compassion after striking Steve Smith's neck aren’t true.
A screenshot of Archer and Jos Buttler did the rounds on social media after Smith's frightening scare, showing the pair grinning while Smith was on the ground receiving medical attention.
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England's fielders and both umpires had walked away from Smith at that point, when the fallen batsman was already telling Australia's team doctor he would be right to bat on.
Plenty of Australian cricket fans and pundits attacked Archer and Buttler's behaviour, with former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar slamming him for a perceived lack of sympathy and courtesy.
Bouncers are a part & parcel of the game but whenever a bowler hits a batsman on the head and he falls, courtesy requires that the bowler must go & check on him. It was not nice of Archer to just walk away while Smith was in pain. I was always the first one to run to the batsman.— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) August 18, 2019
"Anyone who saw it live, saw that Jos and Jofra were the first over to check if he was alright," Root told reporters.
"You can pretty much pause any picture at any stage to make it look how you want.
"They're (IPL) teammates, they've played a lot of cricket together as well as against each other. There was genuine concern.
"When you're put in a difficult position like that it's sometimes hard to know how to react.
“He was very concerned about him, but once he saw he was up and he was fine, he calmed himself down."
Root ‘didn’t get a response’ from Smith
England's captain, who like coach Trevor Bayliss went to check on Smith's welfare in the rooms at Lord's, has revealed just how worrying the immediate aftermath of the hit was.
"Asked him if he was alright but didn't really get a response," Root said.
"Horrible. It all happened quite quickly.
"I went into the doctor's room just to check if he was alright and say well done for approaching it how he did and for showing the courage to get back out there."
Mitchell Johnson and Ian Chappell were among the notable Australians to suggest it was wrong to criticise Archer.
The 24-year-old appeared to be genuinely rattled in the immediate aftermath of the blow that sent Smith crashing to the ground in scenes eerily familiar to Phillip Hughes' tragic accident at the SCG in 2014.
Buttler, stationed at short leg, was the first person to check on Smith's welfare.
Smith had been the protagonist in this Ashes series, which Australia lead 1-0 heading into the third Test that starts in Leeds on Thursday, but Archer has now taken that mantle.
Root likened the threat posed by Archer to that of Johnson in the 2013/14 Ashes.
"There might be things that certain batters in this series might have to change drastically to cope with Jofra," Root said.
"It can alter your practice and the way you prepare".