Justin Langer Defends Decision To Let Steve Smith Resume Innings

Justin Langer Defends Decision To Let Steve Smith Resume Innings

Australia coach Justin Langer defended the decision to allow Steve Smith resume batting after the right-hander was felled by a bouncer in the second Ashes Test against England at Lord's on Saturday. Steve Smith had made 80 on the fourth day when he was struck by a short ball from fast bowler Jofra Archer, timed at 92.4 mph (148.7 kph), on an unprotected part of his neck. Steve Smith, who fell to the ground, retired hurt after receiving onfield treatment. But incredibly, after just 46 minutes, the former Australia captain made his way back to the ground to resume his innings.

Langer insisted Australia had not taken an undue risk in allowing Smith to resume his innings.

"He passed all the testing and that's why he came back out," he said.

"These are like my sons alright, so you're never going to put them in harm's way, even though you're always in harm's way with Test cricket.

"What else do you do? The medicos cleared him, he wanted to get out there."

That dismissal denied Smith his third hundred in as many Ashes innings after he marked his comeback Test following a 12-month ball-tampering ban, with scores of 144 and 142 in Australia's 251-run win at Edgbaston.

Significantly, Smith was wearing a helmet without the additional stem guard neck protection introduced following the death of Phillip Hughes after his former Australia team-mate was hit by a bouncer in a 2014 domestic Sheffield Shield match in Sydney.

Langer said there may come a time when Steve Smith has to wear a neckguard on his helmet whether he likes it or not.

"He (Smith) just doesn't feel right (wearing a stem guard)," said Langer.

"I know they came in after the tragedy of Hughesy. He might rethink it now after seeing what happened today, but you'd have to ask him that.

"At the moment, the players have a choice and I wouldn't be surprised if they become mandatory in the future."

(With AFP inputs)