England vs Australia: Steve Smith still looks bit rusty but all options open for 3rd ODI, says Justin Langer

The availability of Australia batsman Steve Smith for the 3rd ODI on Wednesday between England and Australia has been a matter of interest for everyone.

The idea of Steve Smith, arguably one of the best batsman currently playing the game, not being included in the line-up of a team that has a middle-order that has clearly struggled in the recent white-ball series against England, is a little baffling.

Smith was hit on the head by a rising ball during a practice session just hours before the first one-dayer and has missed two games as a precaution despite passing the concussion test.

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 the prospect of Smith playing in the final ODI, Australia coach Justin Langer told 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.”

Giving some more details about Steve Smith’s injury during the practice session for the first time, Langer said, “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.

We will play our best side on Wednesday, says Langer

Langer also admitted that had Australia won the second ODI and the series as well, it would have been a great opportunity to give some of the new players some game time, but said that now that looks unlikely with the series in 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,'” said Langer.

“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.

“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.”

With the series tied at 1-1, the 3rd and the final ODI will be played at Old Trafford in Manchester on Wednesday.

This Post first appeared on “India Today”

India Today

India Today is a weekly Indian English-language news magazine published by Living Media India Limited. It is the most widely circulated magazine in India, with a readership of close to 8 million. In 2014, India Today launched a new online opinion-orientated site called the DailyO.

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