Australia star Smith returns but waits to bat against Derbyshire

2019-08-29 17:54
Mitchell Starc (Getty)

Derby - Australia star batsman Steve Smith was kept waiting for his first innings since being concussed when he took the field in a tour fixture against Derbyshire on Thursday.

The opening day of this three-day fixture in Derby ended with Australia 77 without loss in reply to Derbyshire's 172 all out.

Under-pressure Test opener Marcus Harris was 52 not out and stand-in Australia captain Usman Khawaja, also battling to hold onto his Ashes spot, 18 not out against his former county.

Harris's fifty came off 77 balls, including nine fours.

Khawaja though was dropped on 15 when teenage quick Alfie Gleadall, failed to hold a caught and bowled chance.

Earlier, Michael Neser led Australia's attack with 3-31 from 11 overs.

But the uncapped paceman is not expected to make his debut in next week's fourth Test at Old Trafford, where an Australia win would see the holders retain the Ashes.

Smith, however, is set to return to Test duty in Manchester provided he comes through this match unscathed.

Mitchell Starc, yet to feature in this Ashes campaign, took three wickets in an over on his way to 3-46 in 16 but they were middle and lower order batsmen, with the left-arm quick off target with the new ball.

Derbyshire's SA-born Leus du Plooy, in at none for two, top-scored for the Midlands county with 86 before he unluckily played on to paceman Peter Siddle.

A good crowd for a tour match of some 2 000 turned up at the Pattonair County Ground - many in the hope of seeing Smith bat for the first time since the drawn second Test at Lord's, when he was hit on his unprotected neck after being struck by a 92mph bouncer from England fast bowler Jofra Archer.

But instead they were kept waiting after Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman won the toss and decided the hosts would bat instead.

Smith's main contribution to the day's play was an over before lunch where the leg-spinner, whose warm-up delivery sailed over the head of Siddle, conceded five runs.

He bowled five off-breaks to left-hander du Plooy before finishing with a leg-break to Alex Hughes. 

Having gone wicketless before lunch, Starc had Matt Critchley caught behind mishooking by Alex Carey for 11.

World Cup gloveman Carey was in as wicketkeeper for rested Australia captain Tim Paine, with Khawaja taking over as skipper.

Next ball Gleadall was clean bowled. Tony Palladino survived the hat-trick only to be bowled for a duck off the last ball of the over.

Smith's injury at Lord's, which saw Australia's Marnus Labuschagne become Test cricket's first concussion substitute, ruled him out of England's dramatic one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley.

His absence was a blow to the tourists given Smith had marked his return to Test cricket following a 12-month ban that cost him the Australia captaincy with scores of 144 and 142 during a 251-run victory over England in the series opener at Edgbaston before his 92 at Lord's.

Read more on:    australia  |  mitchell starc  |  cricket


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