Ashes: Steve Smith ruled out as Australia try to fill 'unfillable shoes'

Ruben Hill
August 21, 2019

Australia's coach Justin Langer insists his team will refuse to allow themselves to be drawn into a battle of fire-and-brimstone pace for the Ashes in the wake of Jofra Archer's trail of destruction at Lord's, forcing Steven Smith out of the Headingley Test with concussion and generally shaking up the touring batsmen in ways they had not fully expected prior to the series. "Literally the sky is the limit for him and he's a great addition to our Test team". "What we're not going to do is get caught up in an emotional battle of who's going to bowl the quickest bouncers", Langer said. "It can hit you afterwards and it did with him and that's why he is out of this Test match". That's the truth. We know what our plans are to beat England and we will stick to them'.

Smith is a doubt for the third Test at Headingley on Thursday (August 22) after being withdrawn from the game at Lord's with concussion.

"Our guys play a lot of short-ball cricket in Australia - we tend to play on bouncy wickets ... so they're used to playing off the back foot and I'm sure they'll prepare accordingly", said the former Australia opener. He said, "In the past you puffed your chests out, grew your beards and were all tough, bowling as fast as you could".

'So we're not here to see how many bruises we can give.

"We've seen (Australia's) Mitchell Johnson do it to us, especially in 2013, but Jofra just makes it look so easy".

All the deliveries are considered a legitimate part of a fast bowler's armoury and Stokes said Archer had no reason to change his approach in Leeds. "If it helps us get batsmen out, we'll use it - otherwise we'll keep sticking to the plan".

Australia, bidding for their first Ashes campaign triumph on English soil in 18 years, lead the five-match series 1-0 after a 251-run win at Edgbaston last week. We're expecting James Anderson to swing the ball, seam the ball and we're going to have to be really tight in our defence.

'We saw how quick he bowled but his economy rate was incredible.

'That's Test cricket, that's what gets you, that's what we love about it. You know you're awake and you know you're alive when you're facing fast bowling.

Australia captain Tim Paine is expecting the "same old Steve Smith" when the star batsman eventually returns to Ashes action. "When we followed the protocols, he was probably a couple of days off being fit to be selected". A lot of work has gone into concussion protocols over a number of years and the fact we now have a substitute shows how far we have come. At the end of the day it was really a no-brainer, he felt a bit better yesterday but he is not going to have time enough to tick off everything he needs to do to be ready to play.

Smith, who had been in sensational form in England, scoring 144, 142 and 92, retired from the second match at Lord's with a concussion after he was struck on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer.

Australia are yet to confirm their line-up for Headingley, but Marnus Labuschagne - who replaced Smith as Test cricket's first concussion substitute at Lord's - is most likely to come into the side.

"I'm still backing Australia, of course". After taking an initial look at the pitch for the third Test, Smith joined the squad's start-up huddle, but then walked away for a lengthy one-on-one discussion with Langer in the centre of the ground.

It sounds like a wicket, then, that should not really suit Archer.

Mark Robinson has paid the price for a disastrous Ashes by being sacked as England women's coach. Assistant coach Ali Maiden takes charge. The Surrey paceman will be 37 at the next World Cup in 2023, but believes he still has a future in limited-overs internationals.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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