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Steve Smith hopes to play third Test, but quick turnaround is a hurdle

Australia news

Steve Smith is hoping to clear all the tests and training he needs to, to confirm he is "100% fit" ahead of the third Ashes Test.

Smith, Australia's best batsman in the series so far, was withdrawn from the second Test at Lord's on the fifth and final day on Sunday, 18 August, after tests revealed he had a concussion from being hit by a Jofra Archer bouncer the previous day. There remain questions of his availability for the third Test at Headingley starting 22 August, given the short break between the two matches.

"I'd love to be out there trying to keep performing and try help Australia win another Test match, but I think the right decision's been made," Smith said after the news was made public. "I'll obviously be monitored very closely over the next few days with a pretty quick turnaround in between Test matches and I'm hopeful I can make a recovery and be okay for that."

Smith expects to be assessed a couple of times a day to measure his progress. "I'm hopeful I will be available for that Test match, but it's certainly up to the medical staff and we'll have conversations. It's certainly an area of concern concussion and I want to be 100% fit.

"I've got to be able to train probably a couple of days out and face fast bowling to make sure my reaction time and all that kind of stuff is in place," he added.

On Saturday, Smith had cleared the required tests just after the incident, and was allowed to return to bat. But, he explained, he felt worse overnight. "I started to feel a little bit of a headache coming on last night, probably as the adrenaline got out of my system. I was able to get a good sleep in, which is somewhat rare for me. But woke up feeling a little bit groggy and with a headache again," he said.

Steve Smith was withdrawn from the second Test and substituted as per the new concussion rules
Steve Smith was withdrawn from the second Test and substituted as per the new concussion rules

"I didn't have any real pain in my neck yesterday when I touched it or when anyone else touched it. Today I do have a bit of pain there, whether that's some swelling or what I'm not sure. Perhaps that's leading to me having a headache and feeling a bit groggy. In regards to the arm, the arm feels pretty good today. It's quite a good bruise I have on it but it's feeling a lot better. The movement I have in it is far greater than I had yesterday and that feels really good."

Following Phil Hughes' unfortunate death in 2014 after being hit by a bouncer, several helmets come equipped with a stem guard to protect the neck. Smith said he didn't use one of those, but acknowledged that he might have to consider it going forward.

"I, along with a few other players in the team, find it a little bit different, uncomfortable to what we're used to," he said. "For me I feel a little bit claustrophobic when its on, I feel like I'm enclosed and not overly comfortable. But it's certainly something I need to probably have a look at and perhaps try in the nets and see if I can find a way to get comfortable with it."

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