Australia star Smith bats in first match since being concussed

Australia star Steve Smith batted in a competitive match for the first time on Friday since being felled by England fast bowler Jofra Archer and suffering concussion in the second Ashes Test.

Smith took to the crease in the tour game against Derbyshire at Derby, coming in with Australia 179-2 in reply to Derbyshire's first innings 172. He played his opening ball from leg-spinner Hamidullah Qadri defensively.

This was the former Australia captain's first match since being hit on his unprotected neck by a 92 mph bouncer from Archer during the drawn second Test at Lord's.

But against Derbyshire he was batting with a stem guard neck protector on his helmet despite previously saying he felt uncomfortable using one.

His concussion injury meant Smith missed England's dramatic one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley.

But the star batsman is now set to return for next week's fourth Test at Old Trafford, with the five-match Ashes series all square at 1-1.

The absence of Smith was a huge blow to Australia given their former captain's sparkling form in his first Test series since completing a 12-month ban for ball-tampering.

Smith scored two centuries -- 144 and 142 -- in Australia's 251-run win in the first Test and 92 at Lord's.

Marnus Labuschagne took over as international cricket's first concussion substitute at Lord's and went on to make 74 and 80 at Headingley.

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