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AFP
August 22, 2019

Aussie captain expecting ‘same old Smith’

Sports

AFP
August 22, 2019

LEEDS, United Kingdom: Australia captain Tim Paine is expecting the “same old Steve Smith” when the star batsman eventually returns to Ashes action.

“Steve Smith’s the best player in the world, he will come back in the next Test, if it’s the next Test, or the tour game and we’re expecting him to be the same old Steve Smith,” said Paine. “He’s a high-quality player and he’ll adapt as he always has.”

Smith has been ruled out of Thursday’s (today’s) third Ashes Test at Headingley after being concussed by a Jofra Archer 92 mph bouncer in the drawn second Test at Lord’s. Marnus Labuschagne, cricket’s first concussion substitute, made a fine fifty in the second innings after being hit flush on his helmet grille by Archer.

Labuschagne is set to take Smith’s place at Headingley as Australia look to fill the void left by being without arguably the world’s best batsman. Smith, whose Test average of 63.24 is exceeded only by all-time great Donald Bradman, marked his return to Test duty after a 12-month ball-tampering ban with innings of 144 and 142 in Australia’s 251-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston before making 92 at Lord’s.

“Steve loves batting, I don’t think that’s going to change,” Paine told reporters at Headingley on Wednesday. “Marnus is strange, he seems to enjoy getting hit on the head, so he’s a different kettle of fish altogether.”

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