Australia batsman Steve Smith was battered by a charged up England quick Jofra Archer on the fourth day of the Lord’s Ashes Test on Saturday, eventually falling short of a century after getting hit on the back of the neck.
Smith retired hurt during a fiery spell from Archer, who hit a top speed of 96mph. The Aussie batting mainstay was first struck on the forearm by an Archer bouncer in the 71st over when he was batting on 70. After getting assessed by the physio, Smith continued to bat with an arm guard, even though he was clearly in discomfort.
By that time, Smith had been rattled by Archer, who at one point bowled 16 deliveries in a row over the 90mph mark.
To the people who boo'ed Smith for returning to bat, the game isn't for you. We're better without you.— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) August 17, 2019
Then when on 80, Smith ducked into a 92.4mph bouncer by Archer that hit the batsman flush on the back of the neck. Smith’s helmet did not have the protective neck guard, which has been introduced in the game following the tragic death of Aussie batsman Phil Hughes who got struck by a bouncer at almost the same spot.
Smith went down immediately and remained on the ground for a long duration as the medical team assessed the batsman. He had to retire hurt with the score on 203-6. There was a mix of warm applause and boos as Smith walked off the ground.
Cricket Australia (CA) then followed concussion protocols to see if Smith was out of danger and whether the team needed a substitute. He was cleared to bat, with CA saying in a statement: “Team doctor Richard Saw made the precautionary decision to remove Steve from the field of play to have him further assessed under Cricket Australia’s head impact protocol. Steve then passed his assessments and will now be monitored on an ongoing basis.”
When next man Peter Siddle got out in the 86th over, Smith walked out to bat and was booed by the Lord’s crowd again, as has been the case throughout the tour with English fans targeting Smith for the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year.
However, the Aussie batsman couldn’t last long as he missed a straight ball from Chir Woakes and shouldered arms to be out plumb lbw, which was upheld on review, for 92.