Australia hope for return of Smith

Australia hope for return of Smith

London - In the cold light of defeat and without Smith's large shadow, Australia's batsmen have nowhere to hide and most head to Old Trafford in dire form



By Reuters

Published: Mon 26 Aug 2019, 11:15 PM

Last updated: Tue 27 Aug 2019, 1:17 AM

As England basked in an Ashes salvation led by all-rounder Ben Stokes at Headingley, Australia were left to hope for the return of their own saviour in Steve Smith for the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
Stokes was deservedly hailed on Monday for his heroic unbeaten 135 that secured a rousing one-wicket win to level the series at 1-1. In time, however, paceman Jofra Archer might be viewed as the man who turned the series on its head with a bouncer that left Smith floored at Lord's and still dizzy at Leeds.
Smith's concussion substitute Marnus Labuschagne did all that could have been asked of him, carving out a defiant pair of half-centuries at Headingley despite some bruising treatment from England's pacemen.
The all-rounder's contributions were branded Smith-like by home pundits, not merely in the sense that he top-scored for Australia but more ruefully that his was virtually a lone hand.
It may have been England's abject first innings 67 that hogged the headlines early in the test, but Australia had little to cheer in their own opening 179.
In the cold light of defeat and without Smith's large shadow, Australia's batsmen have nowhere to hide and most head to Old Trafford in dire form.
"I said at the start of the series that the team that bats best will win the Ashes. We're certainly not at our best with our batting at the moment," Langer said.
"We've got some real questions to ask for ... the fourth Test match."
As Langer pondered those questions there was some good news with Smith, far and away Australia's top run-scorer with 378 from two Tests, back in the nets and expected to play in the three-day tour match against Derbyshire starting on Thursday. 
 


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