Australia batsman Steve Smith is set to return for Sunday’s second one-day international against England after passing a second concussion test.
Steve Smith missed the first ODI after being hit on the helmet in the nets
Smith was a surprise absentee from the series opener on Friday, with captain Aaron Finch revealing he had sustained a blow to the head while facing throws from a member of coaching staff in the nets.
That immediately brought to mind the sickening strike to the neck he received from a 93mph Jofra Archer bouncer during last summer’s Ashes, which led to Test cricket’s first concussion substitution.
The 31-year passed his initial assessment but was left out as a precaution pending a follow-up test, which also came through clear on Saturday. Australia’s medical team will continue to monitor him, but only an unexpected setback will stop him taking the field at Emirates Old Trafford.
Australia’s rapid pace attack will not be going easy on him in training and England’s express duo of Archer and Mark Wood are unlikely to pull their punches in the middle either, but Mitch Marsh believes that is just how Smith would like it.
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“The Steve Smith I know will probably ask guys to bump the hell out of him, he loves the contest,” said the all-rounder.
“Anyone that bowls 150kph, he loves the challenge, so certainly there will be no backing down from Steve, I know that 100 per cent for sure. I’m looking forward to seeing that happen.
“I hope he’s back and hopefully he’s feeling better. It was a good decision in the end, there’s no need to take unnecessary risks – certainly with head injuries. Any time you have Steve Smith…
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