Steve Smith has been ruled out of the third Test.
Steve Smith has been ruled out of the third Test. Ryan Pierse

Smith ruled out but already planning return

STEVE Smith hopes to return from concussion in next week's low-key tour game against Derbyshire, having run out of time in his bid to be fit for the third Ashes Test.

Australia coach Justin Langer confirmed Smith would not play as he spent the majority of his team's first and major training session ahead of Thursday's third Test sitting on the fence talking to former Aussie captain Mark Taylor.

That came after a long chat with Langer and team doctor Richard Saw, the man who ruled him out of the final day of the second Test and has been assessing Smith on a daily basis.

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Justin Langer comforts Steve Smith after informing him of the news.
Justin Langer comforts Steve Smith after informing him of the news. Ryan Pierse

He was displaying no visible marks from the blow just below his ear from England fast bowler Jofra Archer last Saturday which sent left many in the Australian dressing room feeling sick.

He should be ready for the fourth Test at Old Trafford starts in a fortnight.

But rather than face another Jofra Archer bouncer barrage in his competitive return, Smith is aiming to be ready for a three-day clash in Derby that starts on Thursday week.

Smith on the Headingley wicket with coach Justin Langer on Tuesday.
Smith on the Headingley wicket with coach Justin Langer on Tuesday. Ryan Pierse

"He was probably a couple of days off being fit," Langer said.

"It was really a no-brainer.

"Like all players, he wants to play ... but he understands as well he's not 100 per cent yet."

It's a massive blow for Australia which, up 1-0 in the series, could retain the Ashes with a victory at Headingley.

Smith, who has scored a massive 378 runs in his three Ashes innings so far, including two centuries in the opening Test at Edgbaston, travelled with the team to the ground on Tuesday after a daily concussion check at the team hotel.

A clean-shaven David Warner with Tim Paine.
A clean-shaven David Warner with Tim Paine.

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.

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.

Out-of-form opener David Warner also arrived at training without the beard he has been sporting even since his return to international cricket.

Warner joked with teammates that the change could be something to help him fight back after recording four single figures in a row to start the Ashes, just the second time in his 71-Test career he has endured such a hard run.

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.

Marnus Labuschagne is expected to get the call.
Marnus Labuschagne is expected to get the call.

The rest of Australia's likely top six at Leeds, without Smith, boasts juts 50 Tests between them, and 24 come from Matthew Wade.

Vice-captain Travis Head said the fightback at Lord's last Sunday, during which Australia forced a draw without Smith, showed Australia could "get the job done" without their batting talisman.

"I think the mood around the group since that moment is better and better and stronger and stronger," he said.

"We feel that the way we played at Edgbaston and most of the week this week, we can compete and play some really good cricket.

"Hopefully he comes good but obviously Marnus (Labuschagne) came in and played beautifully, Wadey (Matthew Wade) got a 100 at Edgbaston so I think we have got guys who are in form."

News Corp Australia

UPDATE: Severe storm warning cancelled

UPDATE: Severe storm warning cancelled

The severe storm warning has been cancelled.

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