Steve Smith has been forced to retire hurt during the second Test at Lord’s after several vicious blows from English paceman Jofra Archer.
Smith was on 80 and heading towards a century when he copped a blow to the neck on the fourth day after lunch. He is being assessed by the team doctor.
Smith had earlier been hit on the elbow and forearm during a brutal spell from Archer having earlier held Australia’s innings together.
After 81 overs Australia is 6-214, with Peter Siddle on six and Pat Cummins on 14,
At lunch Australia was 5-155, with Smith on 53 and Tim Paine on 21, but Paine fell soon after the resumption.
Paine was caught Jos Buttler off the bowling of Archer for 23, leaving Australia 6-168.
Earlier, Matthew Wade was caught by Rory Burns off the bowling of Stuart Broad for six. Australia was then 5-102.
The tourists had resumed day four at 4-80 with Smith on 13 and Wade on 0, with at least 196 overs left in the match.
Rain disrupted play on day three with Australia struggling in chase of England’s 258.
On an overcast and difficult day for batting, the England bowlers excelled, with a draw still looking like the most likely result.
After the day’s play England’s Stuart Broad claimed Steve Smith’s unique mannerisms at the crease are a distraction for umpires.
After dismissing David Warner for the third time in the series late on Thursday, Broad accounted for Travis Head who was given not out on by Aleem Dar only for the decision to be reversed by third umpire Joel Wilson with the ball tracker showing it would have clattered into the middle of the stumps.
“I think he is quite fidgety and I think he might have even done Aleem Dar on Head’s lbw because he (Smith) threw his arm out as it to say it was going down the leg side,” Broad said.
“I think Aleem was going to give it and saw Steve’s hand go. He explains every bit of cricket on the field with his movements after it has happened.
It’s the way he stays in his batting bubble and he does it very well.”
The 33-year-old has been regular thorn in the side of Australian batsmen in English conditions for the last decade, but failed to dismiss Warner in both the 2015 and 2017/18 Ashes series.
In the first Test at Edgbaston Broad dismissed Warner for two and eight and then produced a peach of a delivery to clatter the opener’s stumps for three late on Thursday evening and said he’d worked on new way to bowl at him.
“In the past I’ve seen Warner as looking to find his edge all the time,” Broad said.
“That is a slight change of plan but on the pitches we’ve played on … they have both been a lot drier than we expected so you have seen that wobble seam delivery moving off the pitch.
“I’ve been looking to wobble it on to off stump and it nips up the slope at Lord’s and is quite tricky to play.
“There has been a couple of decent balls in there to Warner. He is obviously a huge dangerman to them and it’s great to get him out early.”
Broad said England can break open the match by taking the last six Australian wickets early on Saturday, despite the forecast predicted to be fine and sunny.
“We’re pretty positive. We’d need to bowl Australia out by lunch tomorrow,” he said.
“There’s 98 overs for the next two days, which for both teams has been enough to bowl each other out.
“There’s certainly hope for both sides. There could be quite an interesting, intriguing game left in this Test match although we’ve lost so much for rain.
“Our bowling unit’s aim is to get the next six wickets by lunch and then ideally bat until an hour, half an hour before lunch on day five and try to force a result that way.”