Smith has been ruled out of the final day of the second Ashes Test after suffering from delayed concussion
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 18/08/19 1:34pm
Jofra Archer says that it was never his intention to hurt Steve Smith after the Australian batsman was ruled out of the remainder of the second Test.
It was confirmed inside the first hour of play on Sunday that Smith would play no further part in the second Test with Australia successfully lodging an application for concussion substitute Marnus Labuschagne to take his place.
Smith’s titanic tussle with Archer, and the 92mph bouncer that ended their battle in gruesome fashion, dominated the fourth day that is destined for a tense conclusion.
The Australian was on 80 and progressing towards his third successive century when debutant Archer clattered him in the neck at express pace, brutally flooring the batsman.
It was hard not to remember the fate of Smith’s friend Phil Hughes, killed after being hit by a bouncer while playing state cricket for South Australia five years ago, but thankfully the news from the middle was positive, despite him now missing the remainder of the Lord’s Test.
“I don’t know what I was thinking at the time,” Archer told Sky Sports. “Obviously seeing someone go down, you don’t ever want to see anyone getting carried off on a stretcher or see anyone miss a day or another day – especially after what happened a few years ago as well. It’s never a nice sight.”
Smith was led from the field but returned just 40 minutes later after passing concussion tests, dismissed softly by Chris Woakes for 92 and looking understandably shaken.
England quick Archer had already struck another nasty blow on Smith’s left forearm during a compelling spell that saw him clock one lightning fast delivery at 96.1mph, showcasing the sport at its most visceral, vital and ultimately violent.
Archer added: “It was a bit exciting, and I was telling the guys yesterday I don’t think I’ve ever seen him get out of his own accord, so yesterday I just tried to get him rattled.
“I was just trying to get him out. We had a short leg and we had a leg slip. He’s good at working the ball off his hips, and he’s been like that all series really. A lot of balls haven’t gone to hand, and have always landed in the gap, so yesterday it was just weird seeing him get out with scoring 100.”
Archer will not take any pleasure in the plight of his Rajasthan Royals team-mate, but if there were any remaining doubts about his ability to become one of the most ferocious Test bowlers around, they evaporated at the home of cricket.
The 24-year-old reached a high of 96mph in the final session on day four, and he admitted he spent most of that spell bowling off adrenaline.
He said: “I usually get to 40 or 50 overs a game anyway so it felt kind of natural and being at a ground that I’ve played at a few times was also a bit relaxing as well, so I guess making my debut outside of England would’ve been a bit more difficult but it was nice to play somewhere that I’m familiar with.”
Cricket Australia confirm Smith scan
Smith will go for a precautionary scan on his neck and his chances of playing in next week’s third Test at Headingley appear remote given the return-to-play protocols governing head injuries.
“As part of the Cricket Australia concussion protocol, repeat concussion testing of Steve Smith was performed this morning and demonstrated some deterioration from his testing, which is consistent with the emergence of the symptoms he was reporting,” a Cricket Australia statement read.
“Cricket Australia statistics show that 30 per cent of concussions in Australian cricket are delayed.
“It is not uncommon for players to pass their tests and feel well on the day of an injury and then display symptoms 24 to 48 hours later.
“In terms of Steve’s availability for the third Test, this will be considered over the coming days but the short turnaround to the next Test is not in his favour. Steve’s fitness will be assessed on an ongoing basis.”