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England v Australia ODI series



Steve Smith remains an injury doubt for the second ODI against England after sustaining a blow to the head in training.

Smith, the world’s No. 1-ranked batsman in Test cricket, was ruled out of the first ODI at Emirates Old Trafford on Friday after he was hit in the nets on Thursday. He is understood to have subsequently undergone a concussion test and was omitted from the side “as a precautionary measure” in the words of Australian captain, Aaron Finch.

A spokesperson for the Australia team confirmed Smith would undergo a further assessment on Saturday before any decision is made about his availability for the second ODI on Sunday afternoon.

Smith is understood to have been facing throw-downs from one of the Australia coaching staff at the time the incident took place.

Smith suffered a concussion injury on Australia’s previous visit to England. Despite leaving the field for medical tests after he was hit on the neck by a 92mph delivery from Jofra Archer during the Lord’s Test last year, Smith resumed his innings less than an hour later but then reported symptoms of concussion overnight and was ruled out of the remainder of the game. He subsequently missed the following Test at Leeds, too.

“He got a knock on the head yesterday in practice,” Finch said at the toss for the first ODI. “It’s a precautionary measure to leave him out.”

There is also a doubt over whether Mitchell Starc will be available for the second match of the series having experienced some groin pain on Friday. He managed to complete his 10 overs but will be assessed over the next 24 hours. “He’s a little bit sore but we’ll see how he pulls up and go from there,” Josh Hazlewood said.

Kane Richardson, who impressed during the T20 series, would probably be the favourite to replace Starc if needed although there are plenty of other options in the squad included the uncapped quick Riley Meredith.

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