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Sport Steve Smith speaks out about his return to Test cricket, being knocked out at Lord's and his love of the game

22:17  23 october  2019
22:17  23 october  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Steve Smith speaks out about the frightening blow he took from a Jofra Archer bouncer at Lord ' s , his glorious Ashes series and his renewed love for playing for Australia.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Steve Smith of Australia celebrates with the Urn after Australia drew the series to retain the Ashes during day four of the 5th Specsavers Ashes Test between England and Australia at The Kia Oval on September 15, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) © 2019 Getty Images LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Steve Smith of Australia celebrates with the Urn after Australia drew the series to retain the Ashes during day four of the 5th Specsavers Ashes Test between England and Australia at The Kia Oval on September 15, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Steve Smith has revealed his first thoughts were of fallen teammate Phillip Hughes after a searing bouncer from Jofra Archer struck him on the neck during the second Test at Lord's.

The former Australian skipper has reflected on a dramatic few months, charting his brilliant return to Test cricket after a 12-month suspension over the ball-tampering scandal.

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Smith was batting at Lord's in the second Test in August, following on from a stunning opening match at Edgbaston where he had produced innings of 144 and 142.

He reached 70 not out but was then hit on the forearm by a ball from English paceman Jofra Archer.

Smith needed treatment, strapping and protective padding on his arm before continuing.

He continued batting, but soon afterwards a fast, lifting delivery from Archer got under his grille and struck Smith in the neck, sending him sprawling to the Lord's turf.

He lay prone on the ground with medical staff racing to check on him.

For all cricket fans — and particularly for those in Australia — it was a grim and frightening reminder of the tragic death of Hughes, who was hit by a bouncer at the SCG in a Shield game for South Australia against NSW in 2014 and died two days later from his injuries.

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played into his hands after his double century gave his side control of the fourth Ashes Test . concussion after being struck in the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer in the second Test at Lord ' s . "On another day he is out a bit earlier - he played and missed a fair amount today which he hasn't

England stumble to 85-4 in reply to Australia's 566-8 declared, featuring 215 from Steve Smith , in the second Test at Lord ' s .

That tragedy had affected Australian cricket and all those who knew Hughes. Two members of the NSW team that had been on the field in the Shield game — David Warner and Nathan Lyon — and one of his Redbacks teammates, Travis Head, were playing at Lord's and in the stands watching Smith get hit.

After several minutes, Smith got back on his feet and left the field, as most of the Lord's crowd gave him an ovation.

He later returned to the crease, going on to be dismissed for 92, before being ruled out of the Test with concussion the following day.

Smith was unable to complete the concussion protocol in time to be fit for the next Test at Headingley a week later.

"Yeah, it was a good knock, I remember getting up and my first thought was, I got hit in a pretty similar place to where Hughesy got hit, and I was like 'I'm OK', it's not fair in a way," Smith told Grandstand.

"I think while my adrenaline was still running and stuff I was OK, it wasn't until a little bit later that … I guess when my adrenaline went out of my system that's when I started to feel quite groggy and not feel very well.

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"So yeah, I guess that next morning the right call was made."

The rule allowing a concussion sub in Test cricket had only been introduced in time for the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

"I guess we're fortunate that these rules have come in," Smith said.

"I think it's good for the game that you can have a sub when someone gets concussed, and again I think the right call was made in the next Test match."

Smith returned to the team for the fourth Test at Old Trafford, and produced an innings of 211, setting up an Australian win in Manchester that secured the Ashes for the tourists.

He went on to score 774 runs for the series from just seven innings, returning him to number one in the ICC Test batting rankings.

Pictures: Steve Smith's highs and lows

"I kind of like to prove people wrong at times as well, and a lot of people said that Jofra Archer had the wood over me, but he actually didn't get me out for the series," Smith said.

"He might have knocked me out once, but he never actually got me out."

"So every time I faced him I was kind of that little bit more switched on and was like, I [have] just got to focus that little bit more and not let him get me out.

"So that was quite satisfying that I was able to go the series without him getting me out and to be able to score some big runs at the same time."

Smith, like his fellow suspended teammate David Warner, had played for Australia at the Cricket World Cup that preceded the Ashes.

He averaged 37.9 in 10 innings, with a top score of 85, but gave no indication of the dominance he would unleash when he returned to the Test arena.

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The spotlight was fiercely on him for the series, as he returned following the scandal that had thrown Australian cricket into turmoil.

But an optimistic Smith said that one good thing may have come out of the worst chapter in his cricketing life — a rest.

"I never doubted my ability, or anything like that in the year that I had off, I was always confident that I could come back and perform.

"I've sort of tried to take a positive out of the situation in the fact that I could potentially break my career into two sections and to come back and be fresh, and be able to come back the way I did and score some big runs.

"Particularly in my first game back, that just gave me a lot of confidence to know that I still belong and I'm good enough.

"I learned a lot about myself in the year off and was able to come back — and it's great to be able to be doing what I love doing and playing cricket for Australia, and doing my thing out there with the bat.

"Yeah, I'm in a good place."

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