Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 September 2019

Tim Paine calls on Australia team, not just Marnus Labuschagne, to fill Steve Smith void in third Ashes Test

England also had concussion concerns after Jason Roy was cleared to play having been hit in the nets

Australia captain Tim Paine, left, with Steve Smith during a training session ahead of the third Ashes Test. AFP
Australia captain Tim Paine, left, with Steve Smith during a training session ahead of the third Ashes Test. AFP

Australia captain Tim Paine said replacing Steve Smith's runs is a collective responsibility as the Ashes series heads into the third Test at Headingley on Thursday.

Smith, whose Test average of 63.24 is bettered only by the great Don Bradman in the all-time list, was ruled out at Headingley because of concussion after taking a blow to the neck from a Jofra Archer bumper at Lord's.

Marnus Labuschagne stepped in as international cricket's first concussion substitute and performed commendably in Smith's absence, registering a 100-ball 59 as the tourists secured a draw to preserve their 1-0 series lead.

Labuschagne is almost certain to keep his place and Paine said the batsman alone cannot bear the brunt of the hole left by Smith.

"We do it as a team. There aren't too many guys, there's only one other, that have averaged higher than Steve in Test cricket," the wicketkeeper said.

"Clearly they are huge shoes to fill and we don't put all that pressure on Marnus. Marnus comes in to play a role in our team and it's up to everyone else, particularly our senior players, to just make sure we give that little bit more output and cover Steve as best we can."

Smith started the series with hundreds in both innings at Edgbaston, only the fifth Australian to do so in an Ashes encounter, so his absence is a blow for Australia.

Asked about his recovery schedule, Paine said: "In terms of his next week, I'm not too sure. I think he'll probably just lightly build up as the week goes on and he'll be continually monitored.

"If he keeps progressing well then I guess he starts batting straight away and full training with a view to playing as quickly as possible if everything goes well.

"There's a strong medical process in place and Steve's got to tick a lot of boxes to make sure he's ready to go and our medical staff are then comfortable with him playing."

Roy cleared to play

Jason Roy after getting hit in the nets. Getty Images
Jason Roy after getting hit in the nets. Getty Images

England also had their own concussion concerns to deal with after batsman Jason Roy was hit in the nets.

The 29-year-old was struck by a throw-down from former international Marcus Trescothick, who is working with the team in a temporary capacity, during practice on Tuesday.

Roy was assessed after impact and was able to continue batting, but also required a follow-up check on the eve of the match to determine any delayed symptoms.

Roy will undergo a further check on the morning of the match, the England and Wales Cricket Board indicated, but is now expected to take his place at the top of the order.

Surrey's Ollie Pope will travel to Leeds, having been placed on standby in the event of Roy being ruled out. Pope, who played two Tests last summer, has just scored an unbeaten 221 against Hampshire so arrives in ideal form.

England are not expecting Roy to miss out but, given a small percentage of concussions present themselves 48 hours after impact, all bases are being covered.

England captain Joe Root does not anticipate any deterioration in Roy's condition, with Pope's call-up merely a case of preparing for the worst-case scenario.

"Jason has been monitored quite closely, as you'd expect, he's undergone a couple of concussion tests and come through them well," he said. "As it stands we fully expect him to be fit and ready for [Thursday]."

Updated: August 21, 2019 06:53 PM

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