Australia under pressure to withdraw Steve Smith from third Test as expert reveals: ‘Taking a blow from a Jofra Archer bouncer is FAR more damaging than a right hook from a heavyweight’
- Jofra Archer turns the Ashes tide in thrilling second Test draw with Australia
- The Aussies are now under pressure to withdraw Steve Smith from third Test
- Dr Barry O’Driscoll says he was ‘shocked’ Smith was allowed to resume playing
- O’Driscoll claims Archer’s bouncer is more damaging than a punch from a boxer
Jofra Archer helped England seize the Ashes momentum as Australia faced pressure to pull run-machine Steve Smith out of Thursday’s crucial third Test at Headingley.
The second Test at Lord’s finished as a tense draw, with the Australians hanging on, six wickets down.
But that was not before Archer had felled Marnus Labuschagne, who had been drafted in as Test cricket’s first concussion substitute when Smith woke up feeling ‘groggy’ following his blow to the head from England’s debutant fast bowler on Saturday.
Jofra Archer has turned the Ashes tide for England in thrilling second Test draw with Australia
Smith insisted he was hopeful of recovering in time for Leeds, with Australia captain Tim Paine suggesting it would be ‘pretty hard to stop Smithy walking out next week’.
But a Cricket Australia spokesman admitted that the ‘short turnaround to the next Test is not in his favour’.
And, while the Australians maintain that Smith’s injury on Saturday afternoon was handled correctly, Dr Barry O’Driscoll, the former medical adviser to the International Rugby Board, told Sportsmail he was ‘shocked’ Smith had been allowed to resume his innings after having a concussion medical check in the dressing room.
Meanwhile, Peter Brukner, the Australian team’s former doctor, said he doubted Smith would recover in time for Headingley.
Australia may withdraw Steve Smith from the third Test over concussion concerns
Smith turned away from an Archer bouncer, which ended up hitting him underneath his helmet
Smith’s health was said to have deteriorated between the initial concussion tests performed on Saturday evening and an evaluation next morning.
‘I started to feel a little bit of a headache on Saturday night, probably as the adrenaline got out of my system,’ said Smith.
‘I was able to get a good sleep in, which is somewhat rare for me, but I woke up feeling a little bit groggy and with a headache again.
‘I have been assessed and asked a lot of questions over the last 20 hours or thereabouts. I declined in the way I felt over that time and that led to me being ruled out.’
Under new rules introduced globally ahead of this series, Australia had to apply in writing to the ICC for a concussion substitute.
Archer then felled Marnus Labuschagne as another bouncer smacked into the Aussie’s grille
The bouncer from Archer knocked Labuschagne off his feet before he was checked by physios
On the form, Smith’s symptoms were described as ‘headache, dizziness, feeling slowed down, feeling in a fog, doesn’t feel right, drowsiness.’
Smith has said he will consider wearing stem guards on his helmet.
The guards, which are attached to the base of the helmet and offer extra protection to the neck, have been worn by many players since the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes in November 2014, though they are yet to be made compulsory.
Smith said: ‘It is certainly something I need to have a look at and perhaps try in the nets and see if I can find a way to get comfortable with it.’
Just as big a talking point as Smith’s health was the form of Archer, who hit several Australians during the course of his first Test and picked up five wickets.
Asked whether he could have as big an impact on this Ashes as Australian quick Mitchell Johnson did in 2013-14, England captain Joe Root replied: ‘Potentially. One thing it will do is to make Australia think about how they’re going to combat him.
‘It’s nice to be stood at slip and not batting against him.
‘He’s very different to the other options we’ve had previously. He makes things happen in a way not many others in world cricket can.
‘It’s just nice for us to be in a good place going to Headingley. It was important we gave a really good response this week.’
Australia, however, remain 1-0 up and only need to draw the series to retain the Ashes.