The Australian camp react differently to the chilling events unfolding before them, but the concern is palpable. The severe impact the blow has had on Smith clearly rattles Steve Waugh, who had a reputation for being the Ice Man during his decorated career.
“We need someone out there, we need someone out there big time – that’s nasty,” Waugh says.
Coach Justin Langer cannot bring himself to watch. Team manager Gavin Dovey stands motionless with his arms folded, an expression of shock horror across his face.
Vice-captain Travis Head and veteran Peter Siddle try to work out where Smith was hit, both presumably aware it is eerily close to where Hughes was fatally struck.
“I think we were all in shock,” Siddle recalled in a later interview. “I think the worst was when he was laying there. That was probably the scariest moment for us all.”
As Smith returns to the dressing room, players obey instructions to give their former captain space. Langer is concerned for the welfare his player and also aware how big a blow it will be for his team if Smith is ruled out of the Test.
He is passed fit to complete his innings but is later subbed out of the game due to delayed concussion symptoms.
“There was a lot of discussion after being hit. One, the concussions protocols, they were so strict. Two, he was adamant: ‘Nah, nah, I’m ready to go’,” Langer said.
“All the protocols were met but it’s a fine line: you want to win the Test match but you want to look after your boys as well.”
Langer had earlier feared Smith had broken his arm after being struck on the elbow by Archer.
“What’s the story Beaks?” Langer asks via the walkie talkie to team physiotherapist David Beakley.
“It’s got him on the bone, but it’s higher up I think, he’s just got to survive this moment,” Beakley replies. “He’s got a bit of an egg on it, but I think he’ll be ok. His arm’s gone a bit numb, but it should get better in the next over or two.”
Knowing how neurotic Smith is about his batting, the coach knows the injury will greatly impact the player’s performance.
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald