Steve Smith's brutal moment in shocking Aussie cricket collapse

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·Sports Editor
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Steve Smith, pictured here in action for Australia in the second ODI against Sri Lanka.
Steve Smith suffered an injury scare as Australia lost the second ODI against Sri Lanka. Image: Getty

Australia have suffered a shocking collapse to lose the second ODI against Sri Lanka, and might have lost Steve Smith to injury as a result.

Chasing 216 for victory off 43 overs under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method on Thursday, Australia were on track at 5-170 with Glenn Maxwell in hot form at Pallekele.

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But Maxwell's dismissal for 30 off 25 balls and the run-out of Alex Carey for 15 sparked a horror collapse of 5-19 as Australia were bowled out for 189 in 37.1 overs.

Sri Lanka paceman Chamika Karunaratne was the hero for the hosts with 3-47, snaring the key scalps of Smith and Maxwell to go with his run-out of Carey.

And the news could get even worse for the Aussies with Smith appearing to injure his leg.

The former Aussie captain called for medical attention after pulling up lame while pushing hard for a second run during Australia's unsuccessful run chase.

The 33-year-old received strapping to his thigh area on his left leg, and was able to bat on.

However he was dismissed a few overs later for 28, with concerns surrounding his fitness for the remainder of the series.

With the two-Test series against Sri Lanka starting on June 29, Australia will be hoping Smith's setback is nothing more than a minor niggle.

Chamika Karunaratne, pictured here celebrating with teammates after dismissing Steve Smith in the second ODI.
Chamika Karunaratne celebrates with teammates after dismissing Steve Smith in the second ODI. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

Australia have endured a horror run with injuries during the tour, with Ashton Agar (side), Marcus Stoinis (side), Sean Abbott (finger), Kane Richardson (hamstring), Mitchell Starc (finger) and Mitch Marsh (hamstring) all injured.

Stoinis, Abbott and Richardson have already returned home to Australia, while Agar is no guarantee to play again on tour.

"I'm definitely not playing any more of the one-dayers," Agar said on Thursday.

"I've got a bit of a tear in my side, which isn't great.

"Hopefully, maybe around the second Test match (I can return), being optimistic."

Matthew Kuhnemann's debut a bright spot for Australia

Agar's injury did have a silver lining, with debutant spinner Matthew Kuhnemann proving he will be more than a handy back-up ahead of next year's ODI World Cup in India.

Kuhnemann snared 2-48 off 10 overs in an impressive ODI debut, with the left-armer adapting to the conditions expertly.

Mitchell Swepson struggled at times in just his third ODI appearance, finishing with 1-58 off his 10 overs.

Maxwell also snared 2-35 off 10 overs, while pace aces Pat Cummins (4-35 off 8.4 overs) and Josh Hazlewood (0-26 off seven) were at their impressive best.

Sri Lankan players, pictured here celebrating after beating Australia in the second ODI.
Sri Lankan players celebrate after beating Australia in the second ODI. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

But it was the performance of Kuhnemann that would have given the national selectors the biggest satisfaction given the need for spinning depth at the 2023 ODI World Cup.

"We were on our way to get on the team bus for the Aussie A squad," Kuhnemann explained of his call-up.

"I got a tap on the shoulder from the selector on tour, and he told myself and (Travis) Head to pack our bags and get to Kandy as soon as possible.

"It's been pretty crazy. Pretty overwhelmed at the moment.

"I was so nervous. When Finchy told me I was going to open the bowling alongside Josh, I didn't know what to expect."

Sri Lanka posted 9-220 in 47.4 overs before a rain delay of more than two hours halted proceedings.

Their fighting victory has levelled the five-match series at 1-1.

with AAP

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