Steve Smith is set to make his return to action in a tour match against Derbyshire after the Australia star batted against bowlers for the first time on Sunday since being concussed. Smith, one of the world’s leading batsmen, was ruled out of the ongoing third Ashes Test at Headingley with concussion after being hit by a 92 mph bouncer from England fast bowler Jofra Archer in the drawn second match at Lord’s.
But he is now expected to return to action in a three-day tour match at Derby starting Thursday with a view to being available for selection for the fourth Test at Old Trafford, Manchester, that begins on September 4. “Steve Smith batted against bowlers for the first time today (Sunday),” said an Australia team spokesman.
“The session lasted 25 minutes. He also did some high intensity running.”
The spokesman added: “He will continue to be assessed but is expected to play in the tour match at Derby.”
Smith has made a spectacular return to Test cricket in what is the former Australia captain’s first series since he completed a 12-month ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa. He made 144 and 142 in Australia’s 251-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston and 92 at Lord’s, having retired hurt on 80 when struck on his unprotected neck by Archer.
Marnus Labuschagne, Test cricket’s inaugural concussion substitute, has made three successive fifties against England since replacing Smith, including scores of 74 and 80 at Headingley.