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Eye on Smith for decider

The Australian missed the first two matches after being hit on the head by a ball at nets last week
Steve Smith

Agencies   |   Manchester   |   Published 16.09.20, 04:21 AM

Steve Smith is recovering from his head injury but is no certainty to be recalled for Australia’s ODI series decider against England, head coach Justin Langer said on Tuesday.

Smith missed the first two matches after being hit on the head by a ball at nets last week. The decider is on Wednesday at Old Trafford.

“He (Steve) is definitely tracking in the right direction and we are hopeful he will be right for Wednesday,” Langer told reporters in an online interaction.

“He did all his running, some high speed running, worked hard as part of the protocols. He has ticked every box at the moment.”

England won the second ODI on Sunday by 24 runs to level the three-match series after the visitors, chasing a modest target of 232, suffered a dramatic collapse.

Australia opener David Warner has struggled for form, scoring six, six and nought in his last three innings of the white-ball tour. He has been dismissed in all four matches he has played by Jofra Archer, who has now taken the lefthander’s wicket seven times in 10 internationals, including three in last year’s Ashes.

“It’s been a great contest, isn’t it?” said Langer. “Davey, he is a superstar. He is an incredibly important part of our side, so I am sure he is working over-time to certainly be up for the decider.”

The penultimate ODI also underlined that this England side has a lot of character to clinch victory from any position, no matter how tough it is.

“We have earned respect across a four or five-year period. I think teams do realise we can reel them in from any position and the game’s not done until they get over the line.

“We have found that in this series and also in the T20I series. We have got that respect, I suppose,” all-rounder Chris Woakes emphasised.

“We have that character and belief in the dressing room that we can win from any position. A few years ago, we probably felt we could only win from that position with the bat whereas now we can do it with the ball as well.

“There have been times in this series when we feel we haven’t played our best cricket across the two games. So hopefully, we can put in a full, big performance in the final game,” Woakes added.

It has also been a wonderful summer so far for Woakes, as he has performed across all formats. “I’m pretty pleased with how it’s gone, to be honest,” he said.

  • Match starts: 5.30pm IST

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