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Rediff News  All News  » Cricket » Ashes Roundup: Banged up hand no barrier for captain Smith

Ashes Roundup: Banged up hand no barrier for captain Smith

December 25, 2017 19:02 IST

Steven Smith

IMAGE: Steve Smith during a nets session. Photograph: Cricket Asutralia

Getting whacked on the hand by a Cameron Bancroft shot would not keep Steve Smith from the Boxing Day Test against England, the Australia captain said on Monday.

Smith was struck on the right hand by a Bancroft shot while standing at the back of the batting nets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday ahead of the fourth Test in the series.

The 28-year-old said he had been in pain on Sunday and again on Monday when he was batting during training but it would not affect him when he leads his side out on Tuesday as they continue their push for a series whitewash.

"It was a little bit sore today playing a few different shots" he told reporters. "But I'll be able to deal with it and I'll get on with it."

"Maybe I'll just have to use a bit more of my top hand throughout the game, a bit less wristy."

"I copped a few (on the right hand) in the nets in Perth and a few more in the game. It just seems to be whenever you're getting hit in a spot - it just continually gets hit."

Australia have already regained the Ashes after an innings and 41-run victory in the third test in Perth last week gave them an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Smith said that Bancroft had apologised profusely for the incident.

"I didn't give him much (initially). He kept coming up ... it's all good, accidents happen," Smith said.

The Australians had been forced to make one change from the side that hammered England in Perth to seal the series with Mitchell Starc ruled out due to a heel injury and replaced by Jackson Bird.

While Starc had been instrumental in regaining the trophy with his express pace, late swing and aggression, Bird was more than capable of stepping into fill his shows, Smith said, even if the pitch was not expected to be overly helpful to the bowlers.

"It looks pretty flat. It doesn't look like there will be great deal of sideways movement, maybe a bit of reverse swing as the game goes on," he said.

"Hopefully we can get the ball reversing and hopefully there's a little bit of spin for Nath (Nathan Lyon)."

"We've been able to get results here in the last couple of years. We're going to have work hard, first-innings runs are going to be crucial again."

"We've now got an opportunity to keep winning. That's been my message to the boys, don't worry about 5-0 at this stage."

"You've got to win this one first."

Curran to make England Test debut

England fast bowler Tom Curran's competitive nature had earned him a Test debut ahead of the speedy Mark Wood in the fourth Ashes match against Australia on Tuesday, replacing the injured Craig Overton, captain Joe Root said on Monday.

Overton was struck in the ribs while batting in the second Test at Adelaide and aggravated the area further while fielding in the third Test in Perth with scans revealing a fracture.

Australia have already reclaimed the Ashes with their innings and 41-run victory in Perth giving them an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Curran, who made his Twenty20 debut in June and then played his first one-day international in September, was an injury replacement for Steven Finn, who withdrew before the first Test with a knee injury.

Root said the selection of the South-African born fast-medium bowler was very much a gut decision.

"Sometimes as a captain you have to go with your gut and he really hit home with me this week," Root told reporters ahead of the fixture starting on Boxing Day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"It wasn't an easy decision. We certainly (spent) a while thinking about it, trying to weigh up what was going to be the best way to go about it in these conditions and on this surface."

"He does get the ball to move around a little bit. He's always in the contest. That's one thing that really stands out to me - he will at no point hide away from any challenge if it does become very hard. He'll give it absolutely everything."

Curran's elevation ahead of Wood was something of a surprise given England's pace bowlers have struggled in Australia, with stalwarts James Anderson and Stuart Broad both struggling to get any movement through the air or off the pitch, while their entire attack has been lacking in pace.

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