Steve Smith: Australia batsman ruled out of third Ashes Test

Steve Smith: Australia batsman ruled out of third Ashes Test

Australia batsman Steve Smith has been ruled out of the third Ashes Test after suffering a concussion.

Australia batsman Steve Smith
Australia batsman Steve Smith

Smith, 30, was hit in the neck by a 92mph bouncer from Jofra Archer on day four of the second Test, but passed an initial concussion test and returned to continue his innings.

Coach Justin Langer confirmed his absence after Smith sat out Australia’s training session on Tuesday.

Smith has scored 142, 144 and 92 in his three innings so far in the series.

It has not been confirmed who will replace Smith in the Australia team for the third Test at Headingley, which starts on Thursday.

Former captain Smith was replaced by Marnus Labuschagne in the second Test at Lord’s, with Labuschagne becoming Test cricket’s first concussion substitute.

He made 59 as Australia survived a tense final evening to claim a draw and preserve their 1-0 series lead with three matches to play.

Brain injury charity Headway said it was “incredibly dangerous” for Smith to resume his innings.

“You need to take an ‘if in doubt’ approach,” said Headway deputy chief executive Luke Griggs.

“With concussion, the vision can be blurred and the brain can be slow at processing information. That leads to delayed reaction times and is just incredibly dangerous.”

This is a huge advantage for England as Smith was holding Australia’s batting together, but if he is not right and the medics say he is not right then he simply should not be playing.

I remember former South Africa captain Graeme Smith hit his head during fielding practice and he had concussion but went out and batted. He got 50-odd and he described almost seeing ‘three balls’ and the whole place ‘moving around’ behind.

It’s sad for Smith and a reminder of the damage a cricket ball can do but it is also a good thing these protocols are in place and keeping people safe.

This is what happens in sport. Smith had batted for four hours and it was just a minor misjudgement. It’s a scary reminder of what top-level sport and cricket can do.

But you can’t ban bouncers. It’s like telling Usain Bolt not to run as fast as he can.

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