Smith on track to return for Australia in 3rd ODI after head knock - GulfToday

Smith on track to return for Australia in 3rd ODI after head knock

Steve Smith

Australian batsman Steve Smith bats in the nets on the eve of their third ODI against England. Courtesy: Twitter

MANCHESTER: Steve Smith will bat in the nets on Tuesday and is “definitely tracking in the right direction” to play in the deciding one-day cricket international against England, Australia coach Justin Langer said.

Australia’s star batsman, missed the first two matches of the ODI series after getting hit on the head from a throwdown by a member of the coaching staff in practice.

Smith was back running on Monday and has “ticked every box” so far in his recovery, Langer said. Provided he gets through an eve-of-match net session, Smith seems primed to return for the Australians at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

“Fingers crossed,” Langer said. “We have been going through all the concussion protocols and he is definitely tracking in the direction. Hopefully he will be alright for tomorrow.

“If he doesn’t come up again, we will keep his - like all of our players’ - health in mind.”

The series is tied at 1-1. It is Australia’s last match on its limited-overs tour of England.

Langer has admitted his side could have given more thought to taking a knee during their tour of England following criticism from West Indies great Michael Holding.

England and West Indies adopted the gesture at the start of each of their three Tests in July to show their support for the campaign against racial injustice.

The practice was repeated during England’s one-day matches against Ireland but not in subsequent series against Pakistan and Australia.

Holding, an outstanding fast bowler in the 1970s and 1980s, accused England bosses and Australia captain Aaron Finch of making “lame” statements over not taking a knee.

England fast bowler Jofra Archer said Holding had not “done his research”, with the Barbados-born quick insisting the team and officials remained committed to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Langer told a conference call on Tuesday that Holding was worth listening to.

“In terms of taking a knee, to be completely honest, we could have talked more about it perhaps leading up to the first game.”

The former Australia opening batsman added: “What we do talk about within the team, was that we want to have a response that is sustained and powerful, and that it can go not just in one action but a sustained period -- not just throughout this series and the (Australian) summer but throughout time.

“I just hope if it looked like there was a lack of respect, it wasn’t the intention of our team. We were very aware of it.”

Langer was speaking ahead of Wednesday’s third and deciding one-day international against England at Old Trafford.

Australia have now squandered winning positions in all three formats against England in just over a year, starting with a stunning one-wicket loss in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

They threw away the opening Twenty20 match of the current tour and collapsed against 50-over world champions England in the second ODI on Sunday.

But Langer was adamant that Australia had no qualms when it came to close finishes against arch-rivals England.

“I don’t think there’s a mental fragility,” he said. “These things happen. The hardest thing in cricket is hitting the winning runs. We were chasing under lights on a worn wicket. It was challenging and we weren’t up to the challenge.

“We’ve got a very good team and are showing in most of the cricket we are playing that we are up to the fight. I don’t think they (the defeats) are linked at all.”


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