Steve Smith was withdrawn from the Lord's Test after suffering a blow to the side of the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Steve Smith was facing a hostile spell from Jofra Archer in the Lord's Test on day 4. After being hit on the left arm by a bouncer, Smith was hit on the side of the neck by a 92 mph bouncer from Archer and he immediately fell to the ground in pain. Memories of the Phillip Hughes tragedy started swirling around but thankfully, Smith was alright as he retired hurt. The right-hander came out afterwards and smashed 92 but was dismissed by Chris Woakes. On day 5, Smith was withdrawn from the Lord's Test due to concussion and Marnus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute as he hit a fifty to save Australia and draw the Lord's Test against England.
The handling of the Smith situation drew some praise and some criticism from some quarters. However, Alex Kountouris, Cricket Australia's sports science and sports medicine chief, has praised the efforts of the team doctor Richard Saw in handling the Smith concussion situation.
"100 percent happy" he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Our doctor is an expert in his field, he's trained to pick up even the minor signs of concussion. Everything he did was according to the protocol, he was very thorough."
Following the blow to Smith, former doctor of the Australia cricket team Peter Brukner said the neckguard should be made mandatory and he was surprised that some top players still refused to spot the neck guard. Kountouris said a lot of research has gone into helmets protecting the batsmen.
"Helmet manufacturers did the right thing and came out with products (after Hughes' death). There was no real knowledge of the mechanism, what exactly they were trying to protect or stuff like that. But since that time we have done a lot of research. We actually have a pretty good understanding of that now. Obviously, at some point, we want to make it a requirement to wear but we want to make sure we have the right products -- we haven't seen what the products are at the moment. When we get to that point, I think we'll be comfortable to say, 'Let's make it a requirement'. There is still a little time to go but we are not far away," Kountouris said.