Australia received a major blow to their Ashes campaign with Steve Smith being ruled out of the third Test. The leading run-getter of the series was hit by Jofra Archer at Lord’s and suffered delayed concussion. The Australian coach Justin Langer has confirmed that Smith will not be playing in the third Test.
In Australia’s first innings, Smith was batting on 80 when the incident took place. He missed a rising bouncer from the pacer and the Dukes ball struck him in the neck. The batsman stayed on the ground for a while as the medical staff rushed out. Smith took a break and got out for 92 on resumption. He did not take part in the second innings with Marnus Labuschagne playing as the concussion substitute.
With just three days turn-around time between two Tests, this was always going to be a test of time for Smith. At Headingley, Leeds (third Test venue) Smith did not take part in the training as the squad warmed up without him. Team doctor Richard Saw spoke to Smith. As per Cricket Australia’s concussion protocols, the batsman requires the approval of Dr Saw before he can resume playing.
Smith’s batting has been the deciding factor for Australia in this Ashes series. The fidgety batsman has scored 378 runs in two Tests with two centuries. His twin centuries in the first Test helped the visitors get a lead in the series, while his knock of 82 secured Australia an equal footing. The performance catapulted him in the second spot in Test batsmen ranking.
Australia will now have to think about a replacement for their best batsman by quite a margin. Marnus Labuschagne is the frontrunner of taking the number four spot. He replaced Smith in the Lord’s Test and displayed bravery in facing a barrage of English fast bowling. The third Test begins on Thursday, 22nd August at Leeds.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) August 20, 2019