Steve Smith

In what could be a decisive blow to Australia's chances of regaining the Ashes, their prolific run-scorer Steve Smith has been ruled out of the third Test of the five-match Ashes series beginning on Thursday, August 22. The injury suffered by Smith was due to a bouncer bowled by England's debutante Jofra Archer in the Lord's Test.

This bouncer, delivered on the third day of the Test when Smith was batting on 80, hit the right-handed batsman on the neck and led to him retiring hurt. The former Aussie captain was able to come back out later and resume his innings, eventually being dismissed by Chris Woakes on the personal score of 92.

It was on the fourth day that the 30-year old suffered a delayed concussion and was declared unfit to take part in the rest of the match. In his absence, the new rule stipulating that teams can bring in a full substitute in case of a concussion suffered by one of their players, was put into effect for the first time and Marnus Labuschagne was brought into the XI.

The reason why Smith's absence could prove to be the turning point is because he has been in outrageously good form, having had scores of 142, 144 and 92 in the three innings he has played so far in the series. In his absence, the Australian batting line-up will look much weaker.