Ashes 2019: Paine expecting 'same old' Smith when batsman returns

By Sports Desk August 21, 2019

Tim Paine is not expecting any change in Steve Smith's attitude or application once Australia's talisman returns to action.

Smith will miss the third Ashes Test at Headingley having suffered a delayed concussion after taking a blow to the neck from a fierce Jofra Archer delivery on Saturday.

The 30-year-old, who will be replaced in Leeds by Marnus Labuschagne, has been the form player during the series, hitting 144 and 142 in Australia's win at Edgbaston before tallying 92 at Lord's - coming back out to bat after initially retiring hurt.

Smith hopes to be back in time for the fourth Test, with Paine holding no concerns over the former captain's ability to come back strongly following the setback.

"He's been in really good form, he's been playing really well, so he's disappointed not to be playing," Paine told a news conference.

"He along with the rest of our group understand why he isn't [playing]. Steve loves batting, I don't think that’s going to change.

"Steve's the best player in the world, he will come back in the next Test, if it's the next Test or the tour game [against Derbyshire, which starts on August 29], and we're expecting him to be the same old Steve Smith.

"He's a high-quality player and he'll adapt as he always has."

While Labuschagne's place in the side has been confirmed for the third Test, Paine opted not to give any details to the media over the rest of the XI on the eve of the match.

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