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Aussie fingers are crossed over Steve Smith’s return

STEVE SMITH has ‘ticked every box’ in his bid to face England in today’s one-day series decider, according to Australia coach Justin Langer.

Smith (pictured) missed the first two matches after suffering a blow to the head in training, with the tourists exercising plenty of caution over a player who suffered a concussion from a Jofra Archer bouncer during last summer’s Ashes. He batted in the nets yesterday and Australia’s prospects would be enhanced by his presence, but Langer was no more than cautiously optimistic.

‘We have been going through the concussion protocols. He is definitely tracking in the right direction and we are hopeful he will be right,’ Langer said. ‘He did his running yesterday, worked hard, and ticked every box. Fingers crossed he will be ready.’