Virat Kohli is still on top of the ICC Test rankings but Steve Smith has closed the gap to nine points in the latest ICC Test rankings. (Image credit: Twitter)
Steve Smith continued his magnificent form in the current Ashes series against England. After scoring two centuries in the Edgbaston Test, Smith smashed his seventh consecutive fifty-plus score against England in Ashes contest by hammering 92. The knock was gritty as he was hit on the side of the neck by a pacy Jofra Archer bouncer which forced him to retire hurt but he came back and neared yet another century before being trapped LBW by Chris Woakes. The knock has helped Smith leap in the latest ICC rankings for Test batsmen. Smith pipped New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson to second spot with only nine points separating him and the top-ranked Virat Kohli in the latest list for ICC Test list. The Indian captain, with 922 points, is on top of the list while Smith, after his twin Ashes hundreds in Birmingham and 92 at Lord's, is on 913 points. The other Indian in the top-10 is Cheteshwar Pujara, who stayed put at his fourth position.
Smith was withdrawn from the Lord's Ashes Test against England following a blow to the side of his neck by a 93 mph bouncer from Jofra Archer on day 4 of the second Test. According to an official, Smith was closely monitored by medical staff overnight and after sleeping well, he woke this morning with “a bit of a headache and a feeling of grogginess.”
As part of the Cricket Australia concussion protocol, repeat concussion testing of Smith was also performed and results showed some deterioration from his testing which is consistent with the emergence of the symptoms he was reporting. On that basis ,Steve has been withdrawn from the match by team doctor Richard Saw and the Australia team.
Smith's fitness will be assessed on an ongoing basis. He will undergo a precautionary scan on his neck on Sunday. However, his participation for the third Test which will begin on August 22 at Headingley, is in doubt considering the short turnaround time. Following Smith's withdrawal, Marnus Labuschagne has created history by becoming the first concussion substitute in the history of Test cricket.