Why this photo of Steve Smith is a massive deal

Steve Smith has taken his first steps toward a Test return, after taking a cruel bouncer from Jofra Archer, walking laps of Headingley.

Smith was ruled out of the third Ashes Test because of the delayed concussion he suffered after being struck on the neck by a Archer bouncer at Lord’s.

The former skipper cut a desolate figure at training on Tuesday, when team doctor Richard Saw declared him unavailable for selection.

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Smith was more upbeat and active on Wednesday, when he prowled the boundary alongside Dr Saw while some teammates hit the nets.

It may not seem like much - and was a far cry from facing a spell of short stuff from Archer - but the milestone was significant.

Steve Smith of Australia walks laps with Australian Team Doctor Richard Saw during the Australia Nets Session at Headingley on August 21, 2019 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Provided he pulls up ok from the low-intensity activity, Smith will soon gradually step things up with more vigorous exercise than basic cricket drills.

The 30-year-old will have to face fast bowlers in the nets before he is cleared to play, which the tourists hope will happen in time for next week's tour match against Derbyshire.

"There's a strong medical process in place. Steve has to tick a lot of boxes to make sure he's ready to go, that our medical staff are comfortable with him playing," Tim Paine said.

Paine rubbishes Hussain claims

Paine rubbished the notion, put forward by former England captain Nasser Hussain, that Smith's stunning form could be affected by his nasty scare.

"Steve Smith is the best player in the world. He will come back next Test or the tour game and we're expecting it will be the same old Steve," Paine said.

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

Nasser Hussain (pictured left) and Steve Smith (pictured right). (Getty Images)