England v Australia ODIs - Men's
Smith out as Aussies bowl first in ODI decider
Steve Smith absent for a third successive one-day game against England after showing concussion symptoms following a net session on eve of deciding match
16 September 2020, 09:30 PM AEST
A "groggy" Steve Smith has been left on the sidelines for a third tonight's third and final ODI against England as Australia decided against risking him during his recovery from a head knock in a net session last Thursday.
Australia captain Aaron Finch, who lost the toss with the Aussies asked to bowl first in the series decider that will be played on a freshly prepared pitch, said Smith had not pulled up well from a long net session on match eve.
"He copped a knock before the first game and he had a really good long hit yesterday but just didn't pull up all that well," Finch told Sky Sports at the toss.
"He was a little bit groggy and just wasn't 100 per cent so like any time you're dealing with a head injury or anything like that you want to be ultra conservative and cautious, so yeah, he's going to miss again."
Smith's exclusion means Marcus Stoinis, who had made 43 and 9 batting at No.3 in the first two ODIs, retains his position as Australia fielded an unchanged XI.
England made one change, leaving out allrounder Sam Curran who bowled brilliantly at the death in the second ODI, for the return of Mark Wood.
Australia are chasing a first bilateral ODI series win against England since 2015 with the series locked at 1-1 entering tonight's contest (10pm AEST on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports).
Australia had won the opening match by 19 runs, before a shocking batting collapse of 7-32 resulted in them losing game two by 24 runs.
Allrounder Glenn Maxwell said the Australia squad had "addressed" Sunday's batting collapse – and the poor death bowling that allowed England to put on a hefty ninth-wicket stand that proved pivotal – and were "looking forward to righting some wrongs" in the decider.
"We've had chances to win in every game so far this tour, at different times, but as good sides do, England kept coming at us and heaped the pressure on," Maxwell said on match eve.
"We've just got to be able to deal with those pressure moments a little bit better and hopefully we can come out on the winning side.
"We knew it was going to get difficult to bat on later, it was just how long we could delay a middle-order introduction to the game.
"Finchy and Marnus (Labuschagne) did a great job but they got two really good balls and as can happen in one-day cricket, once you get two new batters at the crease, it can be unbelievably difficult to start on a wearing pitch that's been used a couple of times."
Tonight's ODI will again be played at Manchester's Old Trafford venue in England's last men's international fixture of their biosecure summer, but the action will switch sides of the centre square to a freshly prepared pitch after the same strip was used in games one and two.
While the players should welcome some more consistent bounce and the ball coming onto the bat more, there will be other adjustments that both sides will need to quickly adapt to.
"With the wicket moving to the other side of the square (the new short boundary) might be a little bit into the wind," Maxwell said.
"There'll be the tactics of hitting with the wind to the long boundary or hitting into the wind with the short boundary, so it should be interesting."
Despite the series being on the line, Australia coach Justin Langer said the team’s medical staff would have no hesitation in ruling Smith out of the match if he wasn’t ready to play.
Smith, a notoriously dedicated trainer, had ducked into a bouncer that kept low on a worn pitch in the Old Trafford nets last Thursday while facing throw downs near the end of a long batting session.
While he has passed multiple concussion tests since then, the star batsman – who became Test cricket's first concussion substitute last year during a memorable Ashes duel with Jofra Archer – was held back from the first two ODIs as a precaution.
England XI: Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Marcus Stoinis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood2020 Tour of England
Australia's T20 and ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
England T20I squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood. Reserves: Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood
England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood. Reserves: Joe Denly, Saqib Mahmood