Steve Smith not playing: Australia have once again left out their premier batsman for the second ODI against England at Old Trafford.
During the second ODI of the ongoing Australia’s tour of England in Manchester, England have won the toss and chose to bat. Having won the toss on the previous occasion, England had decided to bowl first but ended up losing the match by 19 runs.
“It’s the same wicket as the other day. It might potentially get a little bit worse this afternoon. It probably didn’t spin as much as we thought it was going to [on Friday] but if you hit the right area, there’s a bit on offer,” Morgan was quoted as saying during the toss.
Coming on the back of a loss, the hosts have made a couple of changes to their squad. The brother-duo of Sam Curran and Tom Curran have been included in the Playing XI in place of all-rounder Moeen Ali and fast bowler Mark Wood.
If Australia manage to win the match today, they will register their maiden ODI series victory against England since 2015. It was under the captaincy of Steve Smith that they had last time they won an ODI series against England.
Why is Steve Smith not playing today’s second ODI vs England?
“We’d have batted first on this wicket, it being a used wicket. We’ve gone with the same team. [Mitchell] Starc is fine, he’s ready to go. The way we fought back against the spin was really impressive and in the first ten overs we bowled nicely,” Australia captain Aaron Finch said during the toss.
Australia fielding a winning combination means that they have continued to bench premier batsman Steve Smith. Smith, who had missed the first ODI as a precautionary measure of being hit on the head during a training session, had cleared two concussion tests and was passed fit to play this match.
Just as his absence came as a surprise for the Australian fans, an official statement from Cricket Australia put to rest all the speculations around the matter.
England have made two changes, bringing in both Sam and Tom Curran.
— ICC (@ICC) September 13, 2020
“Steve [Smith] passed both assessments, but we have decided to rest him as an extra precaution in line with our high level of focus on duty of care to all players,” Cricket Australia said in a statement on Smith.