Brave Smith retires, returns, then finally falls for 92
Prolific batsman forced from field, on 80, after being struck on the neck during electric contest with England debutant
Sam Ferris at Lord's
18 August 2019, 12:01 AM AEST
A gallant Steve Smith was out for 92 on Saturday having spent 30 minutes off the field after copping a sickening blow to the back of the neck by England's express paceman Jofra Archer.
Archer hit Smith flush on the left forearm, before clocking him on the neck with a searing bouncer that forced him to retire hurt and undergo concussion Tests.
Smith passed the CogSport and SCAT5 concussion assessments administered by Australia team doctor Richard Saw and returned on 80 to a rousing applause from a packed house at Lord's.
The right-hander struck three more boundaries but was clearly not at his sublime best when he shouldered arms to an inswinger from Chris Woakes to be trapped leg before wicket eight runs short of his 26th Test century.
Resuming day four on 13, Smith had been untroubled as he passed 50 for the seventh consecutive innings against England to set a new Ashes record.
But it was after lunch when the drama unfolded, with Archer steaming in from the Pavilion End and bowling one of the fastest spells ever seen at Lord's.
On 70, Smith ducked into a fierce bouncer from Archer that cannoned into his left forearm. Smith dropped his bat, walked to the side of the pitch as the bruised area began to rapidly swell.
He was given a painkiller, had the area strapped with a compression bandage and wore an armguard as he batted on despite showing clear discomfort and finding it difficult to even grip the bat.
Smith would later be cleared of a fracture to his arm after x-rays returned clear results.
But 10 runs after that initial knock, the significantly more serious blow occurred, when Smith took his eyes off a 92.4mph (148.7kph) short ball and was hit below his helmet in the neck.
Smith immediately hit the turf and removed his helmet as the Lord's crowd let out a collective gasp while the Australian medical staff rushed out to the middle.
When he got back to his feet, Smith told Saw he felt fine and wanted to continue, but the team doctor overruled the world No.3 Test batsman.
Saw asked Smith a series of questions, including 'Where are we playing?', 'Who bowled the previous over?', 'Where did the ball hit you?' and then made the precautionary decision to remove Smith from the middle to assess him further. Smith reluctantly agreed and walked off unassisted.
Thirty minutes passed between Smith leaving the field and No.10 Peter Siddle being dismissed by Woakes, but in that time Smith passed the assessments from Saw and was cleared to resume his innings.
The off-field tests administered were the non-computerised SCAT5 test, and the CogSport Test which is computerised and compares a baseline assessment taken in the off-season to the test at time of injury.
Smith was also asked to stand on one leg to measure his balance.
He lasted 16 minutes when he returned before he was out to Woakes, and even though he reviewed the umpire’s decision, he was walking off the field as he signaled for a referral.
A Cricket Australia spokesperson confirmed Smith has suffered a bruised left arm and was assessed for concussion under CA's head impact protocol. He will be monitored on an ongoing basis for both issues.
Smith did not take the field for England's second innings as he left Lord's for x-rays, but returned later that evening after the scan results showed no damage to his arm.
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: August 14-18,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