'A bit rusty': Coach's worrying Steve Smith concussion update

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Steve Smith is seen here during a training session for the Aussie limited overs side.
Steve Smith has been sidelined after copping a ball to the back of the helmet in a nets session. Pic: Getty

Steve Smith's latest concussion scare has left the star Aussie batsman in doubt for his side's third one-day international (ODI) against England, starting Wednesday night.

Smith missed the opening two matches of the three-match ODI series, which is locked at 1-1 after Australia's shocking collapse of 7-32 resulted in them losing game two by 24 runs.

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The classy batsman is desperate to take part in the series finale, which starts in Manchester at 10pm AEST on Wednesday.

Smith did some sprint work on Monday and had a hit on Tuesday in Manchester but coach Justin Langer admitted that he still looked "rusty" despite seemingly coming through his concussion protocols OK.

“He had a hit today and he still looks a bit rusty, to be honest,” Langer told SEN on Wednesday morning (AEST).

The intrigue over Smith's availability comes a year after he suffered a frightening blow to the neck during the second Ashes Test.

That bouncer was delivered by express paceman Jofra Archer, who earned man-of-the-match honours in the second ODI and has dismissed David Warner in all four of his innings on the current tour.

"Jofra Archer is an incredibly talented bowler," Langer said.

"Equally, David Warner is quite a player.

"It's been a great contest ... Davey is a superstar, he is an incredibly important part of our side.

"I am sure he is working overtime to be up for tomorrow night's game."

Langer still hopes Smith can play a part in the third ODI but admits he's not as optimistic as he was earlier in the week.

“We’ll give him until the last moment to play, but I’m not as confident now as I was 24 hours ago,” Langer said.

Langer faces nervous wait on Smith

Smith's latest head knock came at the end of a nets session in Manchester when a low-bouncing short ball hit him on the back of the helmet.

"He got a blow to the head in training the day before the first game, so we've been going through all the concussion protocols," Langer told reporters yesterday.

Pictured here, coach Justin Langer during an Aussie training session.
Justin Langer says Steve Smith will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness for the third ODI. Pic: Getty

"He's definitely tracking in the right direction, so we're hopeful he'll be right.

"He has ticked every box at the moment.

"If he doesn't come up again we'll keep his, like all of our players', health in mind. But fingers crossed he'll be up and ready to go."

Judging by Langer's analysis of Smith looking "rusty" on the eve of the third ODI, the Aussies may well decide to play it safe and rest their star batsman.

Smith's inclusion would go a long way to solve Australia's issues with batting collapses, however.

Langer said he was disappointed by Australia's middle-order collapses in the tour-opening Twenty20 and second ODI, but denied it was a case of "mental fragility".

"These things happen ... the hardest thing in cricket is hitting the winning runs," Langer said.

"Your mind starts wandering to getting the job done ... I'm very, very confident in our players that they are strong, developing and getting better at it."

with AAP

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