Steve Smith has been ruled out of the remainder of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s due to a concussion which he suffered after a Jofra Archer delivery hit him on the neck during the fourth day’s play on Saturday. Marcus Labushacgne has replaced him to become the first concussion substitute in Tets cricket.
The star batsman was batting at 80 when a short of the length ball of Archer rose from an awkward bounce and struck Smith on his neck in the 77th over. He fell on the ground immediately as the medics of the Australian team came running into the middle to attend him. Smith looked dazed after getting up on his feet before the medics forced him to leave the field with Australia at 203/6, 55 runs shy of England’s first innings score of 258.
He returned to the pavilion amidst a loud cheer from both the sections of fans. However, he cleared a concussion test and resumed batting at the later parts of the day before getting dismissed for 92 by Chris Woakes. he was not as composed in his second stint as he was in the first. He failed to judge the straight delivery from Woakes as it trapped him in front of the stumps.
According to a statement by Cricket Australia (CA), Smith woke up on Sunday morning with ‘a bit of a headache and grogginess’. As per the CA protocol, another concussion test was conducted ahead of the final day’s play. “The test demonstrated some deterioration from his testing which is consistent with the emergence of the symptoms he was reporting,” read the CA statement.
It led the Australian team management to bring in Labushacgne as the replacement for Smith on Day 5. As per the recently-introduced concussion rules of ICC, the cricketer can bat and bowl in the second innings. Match referee Ranjan Madugalle accepted Australia’s application for the substitution.
The Cricket Australia statement, however, did not shed enough lights on Smith’s availability for the next test but dropped a subtle hint that he might be dropped for the Leeds Test. “In terms of Steve’s availability for the third Test, this will be considered over the coming days but the short turnaround to the next Test is not in his favour. Steve’s fitness will be assessed on an ongoing basis. Steve will undergo a precautionary scan on his neck on Sunday,” the statement further added.