Steve Smith has been ruled out of the remainder of the T20 series against Sri Lanka following a “scary” moment at the SCG.
Australian cricketer Steve Smith has been ruled out of the remainder of the T20 series against Sri Lanka after suffering concussion during Sunday evening’s match at the SCG.
In the final over of Sri Lanka’s thrilling run chase in Sydney, Maheesh Theekshana slapped a length delivery from all-rounder Marcus Stoinis towards the mid-wicket boundary.
Smith leapt up with an outstretched arm, and in one motion managed to catch the ball in his right hand and flick it back into play.
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But the 32-year-old landed heavily onto the turf and didn’t initially return to his feet, instead rolling on the ground and holding his head in considerable discomfort.
Australian teammate Pat Cummins quickly retrieved the ball before checking on Smith as Glenn Maxwell frantically waved towards the dressing rooms.
“Smith’s in all sorts of trouble,” Fox Cricket commentator Mark Howard said.
“Steve Smith has come down really, really hard here.”
Team doctors sprinted onto the field to assess Smith, who did not feature in the rest of the match.
A relieved cheer echoed around the SCG as the star cricketer returned to his feet, albeit a bit dazed and frazzled.
However, the New South Welshman was bitterly disappointed to find out his fielding efforts were for nothing, with umpires awarding a six because his right foot had touched the boundary rope before he jumped in the air.
Smith watched from the fine-leg boundary as Dushmantha Chameera cracked Stoinis’ final delivery towards long-off for a four, forcing a Super Over. He seemed more concerned about the match outcome than his own health.
“Whenever anyone dives and doesn’t get up straight away, it’s always a bit of a concern,” Australian teammate Josh Hazlewood told reporters after the match.
“It’s good to see him walking around now and make his way off the field.”
Cricket Australia later confirmed in a statement: “Steve Smith has concussion and will be subject to low level protocols for the next few days and full recovery in 6-7 days. He will miss the remainder of the Dettol T20 International Series against Sri Lanka.
“No replacement in the squad planned at this stage.”
Earlier in the match, Smith pulled off a miracle run out to remove the dangerous Pathum Nissanka for 73, hitting the stumps from 50 metres away to find the Sri Lankan opener inches short of making his ground.
He struck 14 off 15 balls to help Australia register a score of 6/164 in the first innings, with Perth Scorchers gloveman Josh Inglis top-scoring with 48 off 32 balls.
Smith has an unfortunate history of concussion – the right-hander was infamously struck on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer during the 2019 Ashes Test at Lord’s, and subsequently missed the third match at Headingley.
He also suffered a head knock in a net session during a white-ball tour of England in 2020, sidelining him for most of the series.
On Saturday, Victorian opener Will Pucovski suffered the 11th concussion of his young career after kicking a netball into his own head during a warm-up before day four of a Sheffield Shield clash against South Australia.
The 24-year-old’s latest setback sparked debate about whether he should consider early retirement to avoid long-term brain damage.
Last year, Derbyshire wicketkeeper Harvey Hosein retired from all forms of professional cricket at the age of 25 after suffering repeated concussions.
Stoinis was tasked with defending 19 runs from the final over in Sunday’s 20-over contest, but Sri Lanka’s lower-order took advantage of some wayward bowling to force a Super Over.
But Hazlewood, bowling the first Super Over of his professional career, showed his class by conceding just five runs in six deliveries, with Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell needing only three balls to chase the six-run target.
Following a sublime 12 months in the game’s shortest format, which included an Indian Premier League title and a T20 World Cup triumph, Hazlewood was picked up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for approximately AU$1.44 million at this weekend’s IPL action.
Australia’s third T20 against Sri Lanka gets underway at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on Tuesday evening, with the first ball scheduled for 7.10pm AEDT.
Sydney Sixers all-rounder Moises Henriques will presumably replace Smith at No. 5 for the third T20, but Daniel Sams and Ashton Agar are also options if selectors believed an strike bowler was required.