Australia have received a humongous blow as star player Steve Smith is doubtful for the third Test against England in the ongoing Ashes Test series. Smith, Australia’s most crucial batsman was hit by a bouncer and was withdrawn from the remainder of the second Test due to delayed onset on concussion.
With the gap between the second and the third Test being too short, the Aussie batsman is now highly doubtful for the third Test. Meanwhile Australia have applied for a concussion substitute for Smith for the second Test and roped in Marnus Labuschagne in the playing XI.
Steve Smith was struck on the back of the neck by a ferocious bouncer from Jofra Archer on the fourth day of the second Test. The incident occurred during Australia’s first innings when Archer was delivering a sensational spell of pace bowling.
Owing to the severity of the blow, Smith left the field immediately. However he came back to bat after the fall of Peter Siddle and batted for a short duration. He struck a couple of fours but looked troubled and was out LBW when he left a Chris Woakes delivery that was heading straight to the middle stump. Smith’s dismissal raised doubts regarding his recovery and several experts felt he was still unstable as he was unable to defend what was a simple delivery by Woakes and refused to play any shot, a mistake which he hadn’t committed so far in this Test series.
The former Aussie captain didn’t take field on the fifth day. A statement from Cricket Australia said that Steve has been closely monitored by medical staff overnight and in the morning reported that after sleeping well, he woke with ‘a bit of a headache and a feeling of grogginess.
On that basis Steve has been withdrawn from the match by team doctor Richard Saw.
The third Test of the series begins on August 22nd. With such a short gap between the second and the third Test, it is unlikely for Smith to recover and he may sit out.