Ashes: Australia talisman Steve Smith ruled out of third Test

Steve Smith will miss the third Ashes Test at Headingley, coach Justin Langer has confirmed.

The Australia talisman, who has scored no fewer than 92 runs in his three innings of the series, was hit by a ferocious bumper on Saturday at Lord’s.

Marnus Labuschagne eventually became the first ever concussion substitute when he replaced Smith in the second innings.

And Langer confirmed the news on Tuesday, meaning Labuschagne appears the most likely option for the visitors, who currently lead the five-match series 1-0.

Smith was hit by Archer’s delivery, which was in excess of 90 miles per hour, on the back of the neck after a series of other blows to the body - including one on his arm.

Smith was hit on the back of the neck by a rapid delivery (Photo by Jed Leicester/Getty Images)
He immediately hit the deck, where players on both sides showed concern for the batsman (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)
He was assessed by medical staff before being forced to retire hurt (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

He was immediately floored by the blow and attended to by the team doctor, before retiring hurt and being removed from the pitch.

He later returned at the fall of the following wicket before being trapped LBW by Chris Woakes on 92.

He awoke on Sunday showing symptoms on concussion and was subsequently substituted out of the game for Labuschagne, who made a steadfast 59 en route to salvaging a draw for Australia in a frenetic final day of the second Test.

The return of the imperious batsman, who was one of the three sent home in disgrace and banned from a tour of South Africa in 2018, led to criticism from some quarters.

Cricket Australia vehemently backed their concussion protocol and insisted Smith was fine to play again, despite his short second spell in the middle seeming uncharacteristic.

The incident immediately invoked memories of the death of Australian batsman Phil Hughes in 2014.

Woakes appealed for LBW as Smith - who eventually came back to the crease - left a delivery which was crashing into his stumps - a sign that perhaps not all was well (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)
Smith's dismissal saw a mixed reaction from the crowd - with plenty celebrating his innings (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)
Australia coach Langer consoles Smith as the team underwent preparations for the third Test (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Playing against New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield match, the 25-year-old was hit by a short ball in a similar area to where Smith was hit.

Hughes, tragically, almost immediately collapsed before dying in hospital after two days in an induced coma.

The incident shook cricket globally and led to increased protection on helmets - including extended neck protection.

And, with that memory still fresh, Smith has been left out of the third Test to aid his recovery.

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