Steve Smith was bizarrely excluded from the first ODI on Friday.© AFP
Australian star hitter Steve Smith will undergo another concussion test for the second one-day international against England after he was bizarrely excluded from Friday’s opener at Old Trafford. Smith was sidelined from the first of a series of three games after being hit on the head by hitting the nets, not by a throw by one of Australia’s fast bowlers, but rather by a throw-down by a member of the technical staff.
An Australian team spokesperson said Smith rested as a precaution despite passing a concussion and would undergo another such test on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s second ODI.
“Steve Smith was hit on the head in practice yesterday (Thursday), so it’s a precautionary measure to shut him out,” Australian captain Aaron Finch told Sky Sports during the coin toss. “(Marcus) Stoinis will strike at three.”
Smith was dramatically struck down by a 92 mph bouncer off English fast bowler Jofra Archer during the drawn second test at Lord’s last year, paving the way for Marnus Labuschagne to become international cricket‘s first concussion.
Despite missing the third Test at Headingley, Smith still scored 774 runs, including three hundreds, averaging over 110 in a run of five games that all squarely finished 2-2.
In the absence of the 31-year-old former captain Smith, Australia dropped to 123/5 in 24 overs on Friday after losing the toss.
Stoinis was well caught by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler’s diving off fast bowler Mark Wood for 43, with six fours. Then both Labuschagne (21) and Alex Carey (10) fell to leg spinner Adil Rashid in what was Australia’s first one-day international against England since an eight-wicket defeat to eventual champions in last year’s World Cup semi-finals at Edgbaston. .
However, riding half centuries of Glenn Maxwell (77 of 59) and Mitchell Marsh (73 of 100), the visitors made a great recovery, finishing 294/9 in 50 overs.
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