Steve Smith hit on neck by Archer bouncer, retires hurt

Steve Smith lays on the pitch after being hit in the head by a ball off the bowling of Jofra Archer (AFP Photo)

Australia’s Steve Smith returned to make 92 after a sickening blow to the neck before England captain Joe Root fell for the first golden duck of his Test career as Pat Cummins took two wickets in two balls on a dramatic fourth day of the second Ashes clash at Lord’s.

England were 96/4 in their second innings -- a lead of 104 runs -- when rain forced an early close on Saturday.

But with more than 98 overs scheduled for the last day, Australia know early wickets on Sunday could leave them with time enough to press for a victory that would put them 2-0 up in a five-match series.

England will now look to Ben Stokes, dropped twice on his way to 16 not out, and Jos Buttler (10 not out), to keep Australia at bay.

Smith’s 92 was the centrepiece of Australia’s 250 all out in reply to England’s first innings 258.

The star batsman had made 80 when he was felled by a bouncer from fast bowler Jofra Archer, making his Test debut, timed at 92.4 mph.

The ball struck him on the side of the neck and head.

Smith, fell face forward onto the ground. He was wearing a helmet without the additional neck protection that was introduced following the death of Phillip Hughes after his former Australia team-mate was hit by a bouncer in a 2014 domestic Sheffield Shield match in Sydney.

Smith, who had marked his comeback Test following a 12-month ball-tampering ban, with innings of 144 and 142 in Australia’s 251-run win in the series opener at Edgbaston, received several minutes of on-field treatment involving both teams’ medical staff.

He got to his feet but eventually retired hurt, with Smith receiving a generous round of applause as he walked back into the pavilion.

Archer had previously struck Smith, then on 70, on his unprotected forearm with another bouncer in a fiery eight-over spell that cost 31 runs.

And it was that injury, not the blow to the neck, which Australia said prevented Smith from fielding at the start of England’s second innings, with a team spokesman adding later that hospital X-rays had revealed no fracture.

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