Manchester:Australia's star batsman Steve Smith is ready to face another bouncer barrage from England pacer Jofra Archer in the next Ashes Test, when he returns to action from concussion.
Smith has been the standout batsman in the series, hitting a pair of centuries in Australia's win in the opening Test.
During the second Ashes Test at Lord's, however, he was forced off the field after being hit by an Archer bouncer on the neck. He was cleared to return later in the innings, but was subsequently ruled out of the Headingley Test as he recovered from a delayed concussion.
The batsman insisted the knock to the head had left him with no lasting scars, and gave Archer no advantage over him, an ICC report said. "I'm not really going to change anything. There's been a bit of talk that he's got the wood over me, but he hasn't actually got me out," said Smith about Archer on Wednesday.
"He hit me on the head on a wicket that was a bit up and down at Lord's," he went on. "All the other bowlers have had more success against me, I daresay. I've faced them a bit more, but they've all got me out a lot more. I'm pretty comfortable with that. Now it's just about getting out there and playing the game."
Smith, though, was more laudatory of Archer's team-mate Ben Stokes. Australia were on the verge of retaining the Ashes in the Headingley Test when Stokes, with his fighting 135 not out, powered the home side to a classic one-wicket win. The contest is wide open now, tied at 1-1.
"He completely turned the series on its head," an admiring Smith said. "You could just see the passion that he showed and the fight. He never gave up. You look at him, and I really admire this about him, when he scored a hundred he didn't even celebrate, didn't care. He had one thing on his mind and that was getting England over the line."
Australia will play a tour game in Derby before the Manchester Test, which starts on September 4. Smith said his team have put the Headingley loss behind them and are only focused
on preparations for the next game.
"We had our chance to retain the Ashes but we're going to have to work even harder," said Smith. "We don't want to look behind, we want to keep looking forward and focus on what we can control now."
"We've got a bit of time between now and then, with the tour match in Derby, where I think a few guys will have a pretty chilled out week. It's been a long summer for the guys who have also been here for the World cup or A cricket before that and this series. Everyone has sort of need to do what they need to do to be ready for that next Test match in Manchester," Smith added.(UNI)