Australia’s star batsman Steve Smith was a late withdrawal from Friday’s ODI against England, which the hosts won by 19 runs to take 1-0 lead in the three-match series, after sustaining a blow on the head in the nets from a throw-down by a coaching staff member on the match eve.
The 31-year-old World No. 1 Test batsman was withdrawn from the playing XI of the first ODI “as a precautionary measure.”
Now, Cricket Australia has revealed that Smith has passed the second concussion test on Saturday (September 12) and could return to Australia eleven for the second ODI against England in Manchester on Sunday.
In the series opener, Marcus Stoinis batted at No. 3 in Smith’s absence and came up with a promising knock of 43.
“I think it was a good decision in the end,” all-rounder Mitch Marsh said.
“There’s no need to take unnecessary risks with head injuries. It probably gives our selection committee a few headaches now because the top order struck them beautifully, without getting a big score. Anytime you’ve got Steve Smith coming back into the team it’s a great feeling,” he added.
Mitchell Starc doubtful with upper-leg injury
Meanwhile, Mitchell Starc’s fitness remains a cause for concern for the Aussies. The left-arm pacer reported some soreness in his upper leg during England’s innings. Kane Richardson and the uncapped Riley Meredith are the two quicks on standby, but a reused surface may bring Ashton Agar’s left-arm spin into the equation.
“He [Starc] is a little bit sore but we’ll see how he pulls up and go from there,” Josh Hazlewood said.
Australia have a chance to claim a bilateral ODI series win over England for the first time since 2015 and end the recent dominance by Eoin Morgan’s men in the 50-overs format.
Australia’s ODI squad:
Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.