There has been strong public backlash over what members of the public have deemed a sham of a public apology issued by a man described as the personal assistant to West Indies cricketer Andre Russell over a stunt he pulled along Dunrobin Avenue in Kingston last week.

West Indies captain Jason Holder was named Player of the Year and Test Player of the Year at the West Indies Players' Association/Cricket West Indies annual awards in Antigua on Monday night.

Top-order, right-hand batsman Kennar Lewis will temporarily replace USA player Xavier Marshall in the Jamaica Tallawahs squad when the 2019 Caribbean Premier League bowls off next month.

England's record wicket-taker James Anderson made a promising comeback for Lancashire's second team as he returned from a calf injury lay-off.

Anderson is hopeful of playing a part in the latter stages of the Ashes after hobbling out of the opening match against Australia on day one.

He bowled only four overs in England's defeat at Edgbaston and missed the subsequent drawn match at Lord's.

The 37-year-old will also be sidelined for this week's clash at Headingley, but he sent down nine overs for Lancashire's second string on Tuesday against their Leicestershire counterparts at Northern Cricket Club in Crosby.

He had Leicestershire's Sam Bates caught behind by wicketkeeper George Lavelle, before pinning Ben Mike lbw.

Anderson posted figures of 2-23, with fellow paceman George Burrows taking 6-22 in 13 overs as Leicestershire made 224 at the Merseyside club.

Depending on Anderson's progress, the 575-wicket Test veteran may come into contention for the fourth Ashes clash at Lancashire's Old Trafford home.

That match runs from September 4-8, with the fifth Test at The Oval beginning on September 12.

Trevor Bayliss acknowledges England are boosted by Steve Smith's absence in the third Test but does not believe the Ashes will be decided by the performances of any one player.

Smith had been a thorn in England's side during his first three innings of the series - scoring 144, 142 and 92 - to help Australia hold a 1-0 lead.

But the batsman suffered a concussion from a Jofra Archer bouncer in the second Test and, having missed Australia's second innings of that match, he will not play at Headingley this week.

The news gives England renewed hope, yet Bayliss suggested Smith's absence does not guarantee success for his side.

"I suppose if you take out the best batter in the world, that's probably the case [that it is a boost]," he told a news conference.

"But his replacement [concussion substitute Marnus Labuschagne, who made 59] showed in the last match that he's more than capable.

"Win or lose, the winners of this Ashes are not going to go down necessarily to one player on either side. Yes, you've got your good players, ones who do well, but it's a team effort."

While Archer looks capable of being a match-winner for England, the hosts could also yet be boosted by the return of James Anderson.

The veteran Test great has been struggling with a calf issue and bowled just four overs in the first contest before missing the second match.

He was in action for Lancashire's second XI in a three-day friendly against Leicestershire on Tuesday, though, and took the first wicket of the match.

Justin Langer and Australia will not be drawn into an "emotional battle" to match Jofra Archer's pace by unleashing bouncers at the England batsmen.

Archer lit up the second Ashes Test with a ferocious display at Lord's, taking big wickets and notably delivering a ball that saw Steve Smith retire with a concussion.

The England star had struck Smith on the arm before hitting his neck, while he later sent a delivery straight into the face of concussion substitute Marnus Labuschagne.

But despite Archer's aggressive display, Australia head coach Langer is confident his side have a plan they will stick to that does not involve going tit for tat with the paceman.

"We know what our plans are to beat England," Langer told a news conference. "What we're not going to do is get caught up in an emotional battle of who is going to bowl the quickest bouncers.

"We're here to win the Test match, not to see how many helmets we can hit. That's the truth. We are literally here to win the Test match. We have our plans to beat England.

"Mike Atherton said a really interesting thing to me the other day in an interview: 'It seems a really different Australia team - in the past, you puff your chests out and you grow your beards and you're all tough and bowl as fast as you want'.

"No, we're here to win the Test match - not to see how many bruises we can give. That's not winning Test matches. Trust me, you can't get out with a bruise on your arm.

"We'll just keep continuing. We'll pick the team that we think will win.

"This is a different ground. I think the wicket will be quite slow, it's not going to be as fast as some of the other wickets we've seen - that's my understanding of what I've been told about playing here.

"I'm sure the bouncer will still be part of every bowler's armoury. If it helps us get batsmen out, then we'll use it. Otherwise, we'll keep sticking to the plan."

Justin Langer says it was a "no-brainer" to rule Steve Smith out of the third Ashes Test as the Australia star is still "a couple of days" away from being fit.

Smith, who had been in sensational form in England, scoring 144, 142 and 92, retired from the second match at Lord's with a concussion after he was struck on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer.

The 30-year-old missed the second innings of that fixture and has now been declared unfit for the third Test, too, which begins at Headingley on Thursday.

Although Smith's absence is a blow to Australia, head coach Langer insists he had no difficulty making the call.

"It was pretty simple actually," he told a news conference. "When we followed the protocols, he was probably a couple of days off being fit to be selected.

"There's been a lot of work going into the concussion substitute, the concussion policy over many years. The fact that we've got it now in international cricket goes to show how much has gone into it.

"At the end of the day, it was really a no-brainer. He felt a bit better on Monday but he's not going to have time enough to tick off everything he needs to do to be able to play."

Langer compared the difficulty of losing Smith to that England are dealing with due to James Anderson's ongoing calf problems.

"It's not unlike England losing James Anderson, actually," he said. "He's arguably their best bowler, we're going to lose arguably our best batter for this Test match.

"It's always a blow, no doubt about that. Take your best players out and it always has an impact.

"We've got to make sure all the other guys - our senior players and younger players - step up and fill what are almost unfillable shoes, because he's the best player in the world.

"We've talked the whole time about squad mentality and being ready, and when things come up, like they always do in this game, we've got guys who are ready to step up. I'm confident they'll do that."

Describing Smith's mood, Langer added: "He obviously, like all the players, wants to play. He loves batting.

"But he understands. He's not 100 per cent yet and, with only a couple of days between Test matches, that's why it's so difficult."

Steve Smith has been ruled out of the third Ashes Test due to a concussion suffered at Lord's last week.

The Australia batsman was struck on the neck by a fierce bouncer from England debutant Jofra Archer on day four.

Although Smith returned to resume his innings on Saturday, Cricket Australia (CA) announced the 30-year-old would not play any part on the final day of the second Test.

And following that draw, Smith will also now miss the third Test at Headingley.

Before his absence was confirmed, Omnisport spoke to expert Dr Sam Barke, medical director of Return2Play, about Smith's concussion, the delayed symptoms and the protocol for returning to action.

 

CA said Smith "passed the CogSport and SCAT5 assessments" when he came off the pitch at Lord's, so why was the concussion not spotted then?

The key to those tests is there is not really a pass-fail situation, it's just evidence building. Along with how the player is responding, how they're feeling and their symptoms, we do these tests to gather as much evidence as possible to try and work out whether the concussion has happened.

Unfortunately, there is not a 100 per cent test at the moment for concussion. It's adding all those pieces of evidence together to try and be as sure as we can.

Not infrequently we end up with situations like we had with Steve Smith where all the evidence from those tests has said, 'No, we don't think a concussion has happened'. Then further down the line symptoms start to come on.

It was later revealed that Smith suffered a "delayed concussion response" – what is that?

The concussion itself hasn't been delayed. He had concussion from moment one. It's that he wasn't showing any signs or symptoms that concern that until now.

In my experience, the vast majority of time players do have some symptoms at the immediate point of injury and then they go away very, very quickly. It may have been by the time they got out there he was feeling absolutely fine.

So it looks like the Australia medical staff followed all the procedures correctly?

We reckon that probably about 10-to-20 per cent of concussions have that delay in onset.

As an outsider, it looks like everything's been done correctly and the right decisions have been made at every point, and he unfortunately fits into that small category of players that look fine at the time and then go on to develop symptoms further down the line.

The third Test begins on Thursday and, per CA's concussion policy, Smith must not play or train until at least 24 hours after he has been cleared by the doctor. What is the process for a player returning to their sport and why do medics have to be careful?

You shouldn't be doing any activity until your symptoms have settled. In professional rugby they say you have to be 24 hours symptom-free before you start doing any sort of exercise. The theory is most people start to feel well when they do absolutely nothing and we want to see whether any symptoms come back with exertion and mental strain, so you gradually start to introduce exercise.

The big thing about concussion and the way you manage it, is the risk comes from further injury, not the initial injury. The risks from a one-off knock that's treated well are almost non-existent, but while the brain's still recovering, if it takes further knocks, that's when risks happen.

Australia were dealt a huge Ashes blow on Tuesday when Steve Smith was ruled out of the third Test at Headingley.

Smith has been in quite incredible form in England, with knocks of 144 and 142 at Edgbaston as the tourists took a 1-0 lead, before following up with 92 at Lord's.

But with Smith suffering a concussion at the Home of Cricket, Australia could only battle bravely to a draw and the series remains tantalisingly in the balance.

Smith is not fit to feature in Leeds and England will understandably be eager to take on a batting order missing its brightest star.

Who could step up for Australia and prove they are not a one-man show? We take a look.

 

DAVID WARNER

Warner, like Smith, is playing Test cricket for the first time since a 12-month ban for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year.

But unlike Smith, the former vice-captain has performed dismally, failing to rediscover the form that made him one of the world's best openers.

The 32-year-old has a career Test average of 46.9, but he has yet to manage double-figures across four innings in this series.

Hugely underwhelming efforts of two, eight, three and five have seen him depart three times to Stuart Broad, before Jofra Archer got him on day five at Lord's.

Without the security of Smith at number four, Warner simply must be better.

 

CAMERON BANCROFT

It says much for Smith's sensational form that Australia lead the series, away from home, despite neither of their openers firing.

Warner has been dismal with the bat, but Bancroft - another back in the Test fold following suspension - has fared little better.

Bancroft has a far more modest reputation than Warner, but he has the talent to perform at a far higher level than he has shown in the past two matches.

The 26-year-old was in excellent form for Durham while his team-mates were in Cricket World Cup action, yet that has not translated to the Test scene.

Knocks of 13 and 16 at Lord's were poor and yet considerable improvements on eight and seven at Edgbaston.

 

TIM PAINE

Paine might be the captain in name, but his leadership qualities have been questioned with Smith, the former skipper, back in the mix.

However, with Smith out, Paine must step up in more ways than one. Leading by example with the bat would certainly be a good start.

While Smith has been smashing centuries, Paine has mustered just 66 in total across four knocks.

His poorest total of all so far (four in the second innings at Lord's) came when Australia needed their captain most, digging in to reach the end of the day - even if Joe Denly took a remarkable catch.

There will be more pressure in the third Test, where England will have their tails up, and Paine must step up this time.

 

SOMEONE ELSE...

It was Smith's direct replacement Marnus Labuschagne, the concussion substitute, who stepped up in his absence at Lord's, contributing a vital 100-ball 59.

Labuschagne will surely get the opportunity to impress again in Leeds, but Australia really should have enough batting talent in their ranks without needing to call on a deputy.

Usman Khawaja (career average 41.4) has made 13, 40, 36 and two. Travis Head (49.9) has been slightly better with 35, 51, seven and a brave unbeaten 42. Both could improve.

Matthew Wade's series has been ludicrously inconsistent: one, 110, six and one. More single-figures will be damaging next time out.

There are plenty of men capable of stepping into the void, but that might be easier said than done when Smith is gone and Jofra Archer is hitting his stride.

Steve Smith's absence for the third Ashes Test against England poses a big dilemma for Australia.

The 30-year-old has been ruled out of the Headingley contest as a result of the concussion he sustained from a Jofra Archer bouncer in the drawn Lord's contest.

Smith, returning to the Test arena following a ban for his role in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, has been the outstanding player in the series and his numbers make for astonishing reading.

A pair of centuries in the opening Test at Edgbaston helped Australia secure a 251-run rout of England and they must prepare to protect a 1-0 lead without their talisman.

Below, we look at Smith's exceptional numbers from the 2019 Ashes series thus far.

378 – From three innings over two Tests, Smith already has an astounding 378 runs. To put that into context, next on the list of most runs in the series is England's Rory Burns with 226.

144 – Smith's highest score of the series was 144 in the first innings of the Edgbaston Test. It proved a pivotal moment as Australia were reeling at 122-8 before Smith put on 88 with Peter Siddle.

126 – The 30-year-old's average for the series thus far is a remarkable 126. England all-rounder Ben Stokes sits at 61.33, the next best so far.

587 – England have thrown down 587 deliveries at Smith over the Tests at Edgbaston and Lord's, with the hosts' attack struggling to solve the conundrum of how to oust their nemesis.

64.39 – It is not just the volume of runs Smith is scoring but the speed at which he is doing so, with his strike rate at 64.39.

44 – Of the 587 balls Smith has faced, he has knocked 44 away to the boundary for four runs.

2 – Sixes are, naturally, not as commonplace in five-day cricket as in other forms but Smith has managed to clear the ropes on a couple of occasions.

Steve Smith has been ruled out of the third Ashes Test between Australia and England following his concussion at Lord's, coach Justin Langer has confirmed.

Talismanic batsman Smith was struck on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncher on day four on Saturday and retired hurt before later returning to resume his innings.

The in-form Smith, who made centuries in each innings of the first Test at Edgbaston, did not play at all on day five, though, after suffering with delayed concussion.

Marnus Labuschagne was called in as a concussion substitute and made a brilliant 59 as the tourists battled to a draw to maintain their 1-0 series lead.

Smith said he was "hopeful" he would recover to feature at Headingley, but any hopes of participation in Leeds were ended by Langer on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old missed training with the rest of his Australia team-mates before the news was confirmed.

Coach Langer was due to discuss Smith and the upcoming Test with the media later on Tuesday.

Smith is returning to Test cricket in this series after serving a 12-month ban for his role in the team's ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year, which also saw him lose his role as captain.

He has been in sensational form in England, making 144, 142 and 92 from his three Ashes knocks to put Australia ahead in the series prior to his injury.

Steve Smith has been ruled out of the third Ashes Test between Australia and England following his concussion at Lord's, coach Justin Langer has confirmed.

Travis Head says there is "definitely a chance" Steve Smith will feature in the third Ashes Test at Headingley as he is looking "a lot better".

The influential Smith retired hurt in the first innings of the second match at Lord's having been struck on the neck by a bouncer from paceman Jofra Archer, only to return later that day.

However, Smith did not take part at all on day five after suffering with delayed concussion and his status for the contest in Leeds, which starts on Thursday, remains unclear.

Concussion protocol will see Smith closely monitored, yet Australia colleague Head is encouraged by the star batsman's improvement in recent days.

Although Head acknowledged "it will probably be taken out of Steve's hands", he believes his team-mate is recovering in good time.

"There's definitely a chance [of Smith playing]. He's feeling better day by day," Head told talkSPORT. "I know he was a lot better yesterday.

"He'll have a run around and a light training session [on Tuesday] and that's key. It's not about overloading over these next couple of days. We're keeping him fresh, giving him the best opportunity to play.

"He doesn't really need a lot of time in the nets. He'll want to, but it's about making sure he's fresh, his mind, brain and everything is fresh. He's got no more signs of that concussion.

"He's ready to go, he doesn't need any extra preparation. He's been batting beautifully and playing beautifully.

"I'm sure he doesn't need to do anything over the next couple of days, he can walk straight out and play and get the same results hopefully. Fingers crossed."

Smith's role in the Australia ball-tampering scandal last year, for which he served a 12-month ban, has seen him jeered by English fans throughout the series so far.

Head felt the crowd was largely supportive at Lord's and suggested the way the former Test captain has responded to adversity shows him to be among the very best.

"He showed over the last two weeks how classy he is," Head said of Smith.

"The booing and whatnot, there wasn't a lot of it at Lord's. The Lord's crowd was fantastic throughout the week. There were little bits and pieces of it.

"I think the way he went about it showed great character. The way he's played over the last two weeks has been fantastic, under high pressure - high pressure from himself, the importance he puts on himself.

"I think he's one of the best that has probably played the game and he's showing that at the moment."

Kane Williamson and Akila Dananjaya have been reported for suspect bowling actions during the first Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, the ICC has confirmed.

Sri Lanka ran out comfortable six-wicket winners in Galle, but players on both sides were cited on the match officials' report for possible illegal bowling.

Williamson, an occasional off-spin bowler, sent in just three overs for nine runs in the match, all in the final innings.

Dananjaya, meanwhile, was decisive in his side's victory, with a first-innings five-for putting Sri Lanka in control. He added a more modest 1-84 next time out.

The 25-year-old served a suspension late last year after his bowling action was reported in a Test against England.

Both Williamson and Dananjaya will undergo testing within 14 days but can continue to bowl in the meantime, as the second and final Test begins on Thursday.

West Indies skipper, Jason Holder, is still the number-one Test all-rounder in the world even as his side is set to take on the might of India on Thursday.

Holder became the leading all-rounder in the five-day game last January after scoring an incredible double hundred against England before going on to take two wickets in a game the West Indies would win by 381 runs.

Among West Indies pacers, Holder is the highest ranked at eight, with Kemar Roach second at 11th.

Shannon Gabriel is ranked a place below Roach at number 12.

The Test-bowling rankings are led by Australia’a Pat Cummins, while South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada is second, followed by injured England paceman, Jimmy Anderson.

The West Indies are not as well off in the batting rankings, with opener Kraigg Brathwaite leading the way at 36th. Holder’s contribution with the bat comes next with the all rounder standing at 37th.

Roston Chase at 41, Shane Dowrich at 46, and Shimron Hetmyer at 48 are next.

Those ranking are led by India skipper Virat Kohli, while Australian Steve Smith comes next at second after his Lord’s heroics. New Zealand’s Kane Williamson is third.

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