Australia coach Justin Langer has told his side to avoid being drawn into a bouncer battle after Steve Smith was ruled out of the third Ashes Test against England. Star batsman Smith suffered delayed concussion symptoms after being hit on his neck by a 92 mph bouncer from England fast bowler Jofra Archer during the drawn second Test at Lord’s. His absence from the third Test at Headingley starting Thursday leaves Australia with a huge hole to fill.
Australia also have plenty of fast-bowling firepower at their disposal in Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.
But Langer insisted his side would not be sidetracked from their goal of becoming the first Australia side in 18 years to win an Ashes series in England.
“We know what our plans are to beat England,” Langer told reporters at Headingley, where the third Test starts on Thursday.
“It’s not an ego game,” the former Australia opening batsman insisted.
“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.
“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.”