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

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Australia will need a collective effort by their batsmen to fill the void left by the in-form Steve Smith who will miss the third Ashes test against England, skipper Tim Paine said on Wednesday.

Smith was ruled out of the encounter at Headingley, starting on Thursday, due to the effects of a concussion after being hit on the head by a bouncer from England fast bowler Jofra Archer in the first innings of the drawn second test at Lord’s.

The former skipper, who smashed 92 at Lord’s, has been in superb form making 144 and 142 in the opening test at Edgbaston to help Australia seal a 251-run victory for a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

Asked how Australia planned to replace Smith in the third test, Paine told reporters: “We do it as a team.”

Concussion substitute Marnus Labuschagne filled in for Smith in the second innings and made a gritty 59 but Paine said it was up to all senior batsmen to ensure the pressure is not entirely on the 25-year-old.

“There aren’t too many guys... that have averaged higher than Steve in test cricket. Clearly they are huge shoes to fill and we don’t put all that pressure on Marnus,” Paine said.

“Marnus comes in to play a role in our team and it’s up to everyone else, particularly our senior players, to make sure we give that little bit more output and cover Steve.”

Paine said Australia expected more of the same fiery bowling from Barbados-born fast bowler Archer in the third test.

“We copped some short pitch bowling. The guys have got plans and we’ve prepared really well for it. It’s now about going out and executing,” Paine added.

“When someone’s bowling fast and the crowd’s up and about it’s exciting. It’s great for test cricket, the interest it’s sparked in the last... 10 days is great. We’re looking forward to the challenge again this week.”

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