Justin Langer has asserted that Steve Smith is still doubtful for the third ODI against England despite recovering from the blow to his head with the batsman looking rusty in the training. However, he ruled out the opportunity of the reserve players getting an opportunity in the decider.
Australia were dealt with a heavy blow ahead of the ODI series when Steve Smith was hit by a ball on his head, which has ruled him out of the first two 50-over contests. While the talks were that Smith would recover well before the start of the third one-dayer, the chances have decreased in the last 24 hours, with the batsman looking rusty in the nets.
Justin Langer confirmed the same and asserted that Smith’s opportunities are bleak and would be doubtful for the decider. If Smith is set to be ruled out of the final ODI, the management would trust all-rounder Marcus Stoinis in at No.3 as Marnus Labuschagne would continue to bat out at No.4.
"In terms of Smithy, he had a hit today. He still looks a bit rusty to be honest. We'll give him until the last moment to play but I'm not as confident now as I was 24 hours ago. If he doesn't come up again, we'll keep his - like all of our players - health in mind, " Langer told SEN Breakfast, reported Cricbuzz.
The visitors were well ahead of the race in the second ODI before managing to fall from a winning positing to giving England an opportunity to make a comeback in the series. As it stands, both the sides go into the final ODI, with one win each, meaning that Australia can’t experiment with their bench strength.
"When we were cruising in the last game, my mind was ticking over all sorts of opportunities, (thinking) 'We might be able to give the (reserve) guys the last game. I would suggest the rivalry between England and Australia and how tight the T20 series and one-day series (have been), they probably won't get the same opportunities they might have had the results gone differently,” he added.
However, Langer added that it’s the Australian way of things, as he would have anyway picked the best possible side to be on the field while still admitting that he has noticed all the talents during the practice games.
"It's a shame, but I've been consistent in saying from the start of the tour we'll be picking our best team as much as we can, that's the Australian way of doing things. But we've had eyes on them, we've seen what they're like around the group, we've seen their talent, we've seen them in the practice games. It bodes well for the future."