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Ashes 2019: Steve Smith hopes to be fit for Headingley Test

Smith retires hurt after being struck on the neck by Archer

Australia batsman Steve Smith hopes to be fit for the third Ashes Test after being ruled out of the final day of the second Test with concussion.

Smith retired hurt on 80 on Saturday after being hit on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer, but passed concussion tests and returned to make 92.

He will be assessed before the match at Headingley starts on Thursday.

“It’s certainly an area of concern, concussion, and I want to be 100% fit,” 30-year-old Smith said.

“[It is] certainly up to the medical staff and we’ll have conversations.”

Cricket Australia said Smith was ruled out of the fifth day after further tests on Sunday morning showed “some deterioration”.

“With the tests that I’ve done and how I’ve woken up today, I think it’s the right decision,” Smith said.

“I’d obviously love to be out there trying to keep performing and try and help Australia win another Test match, but I think the right decision has been made.

“I’ll obviously be monitored very closely over the next few days with a pretty quick turnaround in between Test matches and I’m hopeful that I can make a recovery and be OK for that.”

Smith was replaced by Marnus Labuschagne, who became Test cricket’s first concussion substitute and can bat in Australia’s second innings.

Under Cricket Australia’s concussion protocol, there is no minimum amount of time a player must wait before playing again, although a statement said the “short turnaround to the next Test is not in his favour”.

Smith, player of the match after making 144 and 142 in Australia’s first-Test win at Edgbaston, is third in the International Cricket Council Test batting rankings.

England declared on 258-5 on the final afternoon to leave Australia chasing 267 in a minimum of 48 overs to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

As well as having his fitness assessed on a continuing basis, Smith will also have a scan on his neck on Sunday.

Smith was struck just below the left ear by a 92mph delivery during a sustained spell of hostile bowling from England debutant Archer, who touched speeds of 96mph.

Former captain Smith wanted to continue batting, but left the field for medical tests – which he passed – allowing him to resume his innings 40 minutes later.

When he returned, he appeared to be rattled, first swiping at Chris Woakes, before offering no stroke to be lbw to the same bowler.

‘No shot – bizarre dismissal’ – Smith falls for 92

Speaking on Saturday evening, Australia coach Justin Langer said it was Smith’s decision to continue batting and it was made with him having satisfied all medical criteria.

In confirming that Smith had been ruled out of the match, Cricket Australia said it was not uncommon for players to pass initial tests, only to display symptoms of concussion between 24 and 48 hours later.

“Steve was closely monitored by medical staff overnight,” read a statement. “This morning he reported after sleeping well he woke with ‘a bit of a headache and a feeling of grogginess’.”

Fast bowlers star as second Test evenly poised – day four highlights

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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