ENG v AUS 2020: Steve Smith still a bit rusty; all options on table for 3rd ODI, says Justin Langer

Whether Steve Smith will play the third ODI between England and Australia on September 16 is a question that has kept everyone interested for quite some time now. The series stands 1-1 after two games.

Smith was hit on the head during nets ahead of the first ODI and has missed two games as a precaution despite passing the concussion test. His absence in the middle order has exposed a huge chink in the Australian team’s armor.

In the absence of Smith, Marcus Stoinis was tried out at No. 3 and he has scored 43 and 9 in the first two games.

Speaking on whether Smith will play in the 3rd ODI or not, Australian coach Justin Langer said to SEN Breakfast, “In terms of Smithy, he had a hit today. He still looks a bit rusty, to be honest. We’ll give him until the last moment to play but I’m not as confident now as I was 24 hours ago.”

ENG v AUS 2020: Steve Smith “tracking in the right direction” before 3rd ODI, says Justin Langer

“He was probably on his 30,000th ball and he probably had about two or three to go. The facilities over here are brilliant but they’re a bit worn because of so much traffic through them over the last few months. So one ball just didn’t quite get up and he ducked into it and it hit him on the side of the helmet. It was unfortunate, these things happen,” said Langer.

Australia suffered a stunning collapse in the second ODI, a win in which would have given them the series and a chance to try out the youngsters in the team as well. But Langer said that seems unlikely now with the series on the line.

“When we were cruising in the last game, my mind was ticking over all sorts of opportunities, [thinking] ‘We might be able to give the [reserve] guys the last game. It’s a shame, but I’ve been consistent in saying from the start of the tour we’ll be picking our best team as much as we can, that’s the Australian way of doing things,” he said.

“But we’ve had eyes on them, we’ve seen what they’re like around the group, we’ve seen their talent, we’ve seen them in the practice games. It bodes well for the future,” he signed off.

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