• Labuschagne first formal substitution

    Australian batsman Steven Smith became the first player to be formally substituted in Test cricket on Sunday.

    Smith was replaced by fellow right-hander Marnus Labuschagne for the final day of the second Ashes series Test at Lord’s in London.

    Smith passed an initial concussion Test after being felled by England fast bowler Jofra Archer’s bouncer on day four. His conditioned deteriorated on day five, though.

    ‘As part of the Cricket Australia concussion protocol, repeat concussion testing of Smith was also performed this morning and demonstrated some deterioration from his testing which is consistent with the emergence of the symptoms he was reporting,’ said a Cricket Australia spokesman.

    ‘On that basis Steve has been withdrawn from the match by team doctor Richard Saw and the Australia team will lodge an application for a concussion substitute with the International Cricket Council match referee in line with the ICC protocol.

    ‘Cricket Australia statistics show that 30 percent of concussions in Australian cricket are delayed. It is not uncommon for players to pass their tests and feel well on the day of an injury and then display symptoms 24 to 48 hours later.’

    Smith’s participation in the third Test, which will start at Headingley in Leeds on Thursday, is in doubt.

    ‘In terms of Steve’s availability for the third Test, this will be considered over the coming days but the short turnaround to the next Test is not in his favour. Steve’s fitness will be assessed on an ongoing basis,’ added the spokesperson.

    ‘Steve will undergo a precautionary scan on his neck on Sunday. Despite the unfortunate nature of what has happened, the positive is that the concussion protocol, including the availability of the concussion substitute, which has been recently brought in has served its purpose.

    ‘A player is no longer under pressure to take the field when he or she displays symptoms of concussion and a side is not disadvantaged having lost a player to a blow to the head or neck.’

    The ICC approved the use of ‘like for like’ concussion substitutes last month.

    The South African-born Labuschagne batted fourth in the order during Australia’s final innings at Lord’s. He, too, was floored by a short delivery from Archer.

    Photo: Getty Images

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