Steve Smith, the star Australian batsman, and former skipper remain a doubtful starter for the second ODI against England on Sunday after he suffered a blow on his head during training and will undergo a second concussion test to decide his availability.
Steve Smith was a late withdrawal from Friday’s first ODI, which Australia won by 19 runs to go 1-0 up in the three-match one-day bilateral series against England, after sustaining a blow on the head in the nets from a throw-down by a coaching staff member on the match eve.
Steve Smith Omitted From ODI As Precautionary Measure
The 31-year-old world number one Test batsman is understood to have subsequently undergone a concussion test and was omitted from the first ODI side “as a precautionary measure.”
“He got a knock on the head in practice. It’s a precautionary measure to leave him out,” Australia limited-overs captain Aaron Finch had said.
A spokesperson for the Australian team confirmed Steve Smith would undergo a further assessment on Saturday before any decision is made about his availability for the second ODI on Sunday afternoon in the same venue Manchester.
In Steve Smith’s absence Glenn Maxwell scored 77 off only 59 balls and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh scored 73 runs as Australia posted a mammoth 294/9 on board. They stitched together 126 run partnership for the sixth wicket after Australia were in trouble being 123/5. In reply, Sam Billings scored 118 and Johnny Bairstow scored 84 but Australia won as England finished at 275/9.
Steve Smith was also infamously felled by England’s pacer Jofra Archer’s bouncer at Lord’s during last year’s Ashes. That incident caused him to miss the second innings of that Test and the following match as well.
Mitchell Starc Is Also A Doubtful Starter
There is also doubt over left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc‘s availability for the second match of the series after having experienced some groin pain on Friday.
He managed to complete his full quota of 10 overs after slipping on the field but will be assessed over the next 24 hours. He failed to pick up a wicket but conceded 47 runs.
“He’s a little bit sore but we’ll see how he pulls up and go from there,” Josh Hazlewood said.
Australia have a chance to win the bilateral ODI series against England for the first time since 2015 to end the recent dominance by 2019 World Cup winner Eoin Morgan’s men in 50-over cricket.
England have won 11 of their past 14 encounters against Australia. Australia will be in a selection dilemma with Marcus Stoinis scoring 34-ball 43, Mitchell Marsh scoring 73, Glenn Maxwell scoring 77, and Marcus Labuschagne being in superb form. The player who will make way for Steven Smith remains to be seen.
On the other hand, if Mitchell Starc is unavailable, pacers Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye, Sean Abbott, all-rounder Daniel Sams or uncapped Riley Meredith may be given a chance. They may also bring in spinners like Ashton Agar or Nathan Lyon to partner Adam Zampa.