Head knock still affecting Smith

Concussion issues are lingering for superstar Aussie batsman Steve Smith nearly a week after he was struck in the head by a bouncer in the nets, and he may miss the third and deciding ODI against England.

Aussie coach Justin Langer revealed the run-machine was still “rusty” despite passing all his concussion tests and completing a solid block of training that included a late afternoon net session in Manchester.

The slow recovery remains a concern for Aussie officials who watched on with horror as Smith was felled by a Jofra Archer blow at Lord’s last year that forced him to miss the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

“He had a hit today and he still looks a bit rusty, to be honest,” Langer told SEN on Wednesday morning.

“We’ll give him until the last moment to play, but I’m not as confident now as I was 24 hours ago.”

Steve Smith (left) and Andrew Tye warm up before a net session at Emirates Old Trafford. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECBSource:Getty Images

Langer said Smith was felled by a bouncer on a low, slow, pitch in the Manchester nets, right at the back end of a net session last week.

In a Tuesday night media call the Aussie coach said Smith had “ticked every box” in his push to get back but hadn’t batted.

“Fingers crossed. We know what a great player he is, he got a blow to the head in training the day before the first game, so we’ve been going through all the concussion protocols. He’s definitely tracking in the right direction,“ Langer said from the UK last night.

“We’re hopeful he’ll be right for tomorrow, but if he doesn’t come up again, then like always we’ll keep him healthy in mind.

Steve Smith was laid out by a bouncer from England’s Jofra Archer during last year’s Ashes. Picture: AP Photo/Alastair GrantSource:News Regional Media

“He was just practising, we talk about Steve, he was probably on his 30,000th ball, probably had two or three to go, and the wickets over here, the facilities have been brilliant, but they’re a bit worn because of so much traffic through them over the past few months. One ball just didn’t quite get up, he ducked into it and it hit him in the side of the helmet.

“He did all his running yesterday, did some high speed running, worked hard as part of the protocols. He has ticked every box at the moment, so he will 100 per cent have a bat this afternoon unless he’s not feeling well this morning. He’ll definitely have a hit this afternoon.”

But that hit didn’t go well and Smith, who hasn’t played either of the opening two one-dayers, could miss the decider.

He will head to the UAE from England for the Indian Premier League before returning to Australia for the home summer.

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