Published: Sat, August 24, 2019
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Australia's Paine wants senior batsmen to step up and fill Smith void

Australia's Paine wants senior batsmen to step up and fill Smith void

Marnus Labuschagne, who scored a gritty 57 after replacing Smith at Lord's looks certain to replace him again with the rest of the team yet to be confirmed.

'It's not an ego game, ' the former Australia opening batsman insisted.

Australia star Warner has endured a dismal series so far in England as he returns to Test cricket following a 12-month ban for his role in the team's ball-tampering scandal.

He also made 92, having retired hurt after being hit when on 80, at Lord's where Marnus Labuschagne, Test cricket's first concussion substitute, made a courageous fifty in the second innings after being hit flush on the grille of his helmet by Archer.

But he didn't have his batting gear and his lack of activity was a strong indication he wouldn't play, before confirmation from Langer.

Runs from Warner are even more crucial with Smith's absence from a batting line-up in which Usman Khawaja, with 43 Tests, is the next most experienced batsman.

'We think we've got the best seven batters available to us at the moment in England. whether we can change it round and make that (order) any better, I'm not sure, but we'll certainly have a discussion about it, ' he said. Australia also play a three-day tour match in Derby from Aug 29-31.

Australia folded after third-wicket stand of 111 between David Warner (61) and Marnus Labuschagne (74), with Stuart Broad taking 2-32 before Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes took a wicket apiece.

"He obviously, like all the players, wants to play, he loves batting, but he understands as well that he's not 100 per cent yet and with only a couple of days between Test matches that's what makes it so hard", Langer said.

"He seems to know where his off-stump is, he lets the ball go but doesn't allow the bowlers to dictate to him".

While Labuschagne has impressed Wade's series has slipped to mediocrity after a thunderous start, with his duck overnight adding to scores of one and six at Lord's.

Archer regularly surpassed speeds of 90mph at the "Home of Cricket" last week, hitting 96.1mph at one point, with his express pace routinely troubling not only Smith among Australia's ranks.

"Something we talked about before the series was that Australia has to avoid those disastrous sessions, unfortunately they just had one", Taylor said.

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