'Time will tell': Smith addresses third Test hopes
Prolific batsman who was subbed out of Lord's Test to proceed with caution and will consider wearing a stem guard in future
Sam Ferris at Lord's
19 August 2019, 12:53 AM AEST
Steve Smith is hopeful of playing in next week's third Ashes Test in Leeds, but wants to be 100 per cent fit after being ruled out of the remainder of the Lord's Test with concussion.
Smith was the first player substituted out of a Test match after his condition worsened overnight following the blow to his neck by a fierce Jofra Archer bouncer on Saturday's fourth day.
With only three days between the end of the second Test and the start of the third Test on Thursday, Smith says he will be in discussions with Australia's medical staff about his availability for the Headingley Test.
"It's obviously a quick turnaround between Test matches," Smith said on Sunday.
"I'm going to be assessed over the next five or six days, each day a couple of times a day, to see how I'm feeling and how I'm progressing.
"I'm hopeful I'll be available for that Test match, but it's certainly up to the medical staff and we'll have conversations.
"It's certainly an area of concern, concussion, and I want to be 100 per cent fit.
"I've got to be able to train a couple of days out and then face fast bowling to make sure my reaction time is in place.
"There's a few tests I'll have to tick off and time will tell."
Smith was withdrawn from the Lord's Test on the morning of day five by team doctor Richard Saw, who under the terms of Cricket Australia's concussion protocol will have the final say in determining whether Smith can return to play.
Per CA's concussion policy, Smith must not play or train until clearance has been provided by the doctor and he'll be prevented from any cricket activity for at least 24 hours after the diagnosis.
Once 24 hours have elapsed, Smith may gradually return to physical activity if he gets Saw's clearance.
Smith was on 80 in Australia's first innings when he was struck.
The right-hander immediately hit the turf after being hit and in a matter of moments was being treated by Saw and team physiotherapist David Beakley.
Smith wanted to keep batting but was taken off the field as a precaution, and upon returning to the team dressing room, he passed a series of concussion tests and was allowed to resume his innings.
He fell 15 minutes after he had returned to the middle and was out eight runs short of what would have been his fourth consecutive Ashes hundred in England, a feat that has never been achieved.
Smith spent the final session on Saturday off the field as he left Lord's to get an x-ray on his left forearm that was also struck by an Archer bouncer. The results cleared Smith of any fracture.
He left the ground at stumps with his teammates feeling fine, but the delayed concussion begun to set in when he got back to the team hotel.
"I started to feel a little bit of a headache coming on last night probably as the adrenaline got out of my system," Smith said.
"I was able to get a good sleep in which is somewhat rare for me, but woke up feeling a little bit groggy and with a headache again.
"I had some tests done and upon some further assessments (it was) deemed to be a mild concussion, unfortunately, and have been ruled out for the rest of this Test match."
Smith said he is full support of the decision to be withdrawn from the match.
"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," he said.
"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 (the third Test)."
Smith was not wearing a stem guard, the piece of protective equipment that sits underneath the base of the helmet that was introduced following the tragic death of Phillip Hughes in November 2014.
Smith has used the clip-on attachment in the past but has found it to be restrictive.
But following Saturday's scare, Smith says he will re-explore wearing a stem guard.
"I think I, along with a few other players in the team, find it a little bit different, uncomfortable compared to what we're used to," he said.
"I feel a little bit claustrophobic when it's on. I feel like I'm enclosed and not overly comfortable.
"It's certainly something I need to probably have a look at and perhaps try in the nets and see if I can find a way to get comfortable with it."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval