‘I feared the worst’: England star Jos Buttler makes admission after his shot left Sri Lankan fielder hospitalised after hitting him on the head
- England match halted when fielder Pathum Nissanka suffered a nasty injury
- There was immediate concern after Jos Buttler’s shot hit him on the head
- Nissanka was treated for 15 minutes on the field by medics from both teams
- He was carried off and taken to hospital with fears of a head and neck injury
The risks inherent in modern cricket were demonstrated here on Wednesday when Sri Lanka’s Pathum Nissanka was taken to hospital after suffering a sickening blow to the head that left Jos Buttler ‘fearing the worst’.
The incident came just before tea on the second day of England’s warm-up at the sleepy Nondescripts Cricket Club ahead of next week’s first Test as Joe Root and Buttler gained valuable batting practice.
The peace was shattered when Buttler, one of the hardest hitters in the game, pulled a long hop from off-spinner Nishan Peiris fiercely into the top of Nissanka’s helmet as he took evasive action at short leg.
England’s match was halted when Sri Lankan fielder Pathum Nissanka suffered a nasty injury
There was immediate concern for the 20-year-old after Jos Buttler’s shot hit him on the head
Nissanka, a Sri Lankan Under 19 batsman, collapsed to the floor as anxious players from both sides urgently called for medical help.
Three members of the England staff — doctor Moiz Moghal, physio Craig de Weymarn and massage therapist Mark Saxby — rushed on to assist the local doctor assigned to the Sri Lankan XI.
And the sight of the England staff carrying oxygen packs on to the field was both a concern and a sobering reminder, in the wake of the Phil Hughes tragedy, of how dangerous cricket can be.
Nissanka, 20, was treated for 15 minutes as a hush descended at this quaint Colombo venue. He was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital as the umpires called an early tea. He had been conscious when he left the field and remained in hospital for observation.
Nissanka was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital with fears of head and neck injury
Buttler said: ‘You always fear the worst. I hit him very hard in the middle of the helmet but luckily the doctor and physio rushed straight on and treated him. It’s good to know he’s doing better.’
Sri Lankan Board XI coach Avishka Gunawardene eased fears later when he said: ‘He’s stable and conscious and there’s nothing alarming.’
In the drama it was almost missed that Buttler was dismissed for 44 in the incident, the ball looping up off Nissanka’s head and being taken at leg slip. It turned into an eventful day for England, with Ben Stokes suffering a minor injury scare himself and Jonny Bairstow taking the first steps towards recovery from his ankle problem by having a keeping net with coach Bruce French.
Stokes was hit above the elbow of his left arm attempting to pull Lahiru Kumara, but waited until the next over before causing a bit of a stir by walking off the ground while at the non-striker’s end.
Nissanka fell to the ground immediately and players from both sides quickly called for help
Nissanka, 20, has played for Sri Lanka U19s but is yet to make his Test debut.
The right handed batsman has made 14 first class appearances, with a top score of 188 not out for Kandy against Galle in April thus year.
He was called up by the Sri Lanka Board for an invitational XI to play a warm-up in Colombo against England, ahead of the three match Test series starting next month.
He had treatment for what turned out to be bruising and was able to resume his innings after tea, ending the day with an ice pack strapped to his left arm. The best batting came from England’s captain, Root looking a class above anyone else while making the first century of England’s tour before retiring.
Root will bat at No 4 in the first Test in Galle on Tuesday, but the identity of the man before him remains uncertain after an unconvincing display from Joe Denly in the problem No 3 slot.
It is no exaggeration to say Denly, the surprise pick for this tour at the age of 32, could have been dismissed by each of his first six balls before settling to make 25 until being yorked by Kumara. Denly was also culpable in the dismissal of Rory Burns, who looked confident in moving to 47 in his first senior innings for England before a mix-up led to him being run out.
A worried Buttler checks on the prone Nissanka during the Test warm-up match in Colombo
The Surrey captain looks sure to step into the giant shoes left by the retired opener Alastair Cook. Alongside him will almost certainly be Keaton Jennings, even though he struggled again. Jennings played on to Shehan Madushanka and swished his bat angrily after wasting another opportunity to show he does belong at the highest level.
England had moved to 365 for seven before the players shook hands on a draw. With another two-day match-practice game due to start on Thursday, the sight of national selector Ed Smith and acting team director Andy Flower deep in conversation afterwards emphasised there is still much for England to sort out.
Nissanka was treated for 15 minutes on the field by medics from both teams
Sri Lanka were left reeling when another of their former internationals and current fast bowling coach Nuwan Zoysa was charged with corruption.
Zoysa, 40, who played in 30 Tests and 95 one-day internationals, was hit with three charges by the ICC’s anti-corruption unit — trying to fix an international, trying to recruit another player and failing to report approaches. He is suspended with immediate effect.
The charges follow allegations against one of Sri Lanka’s greats, Sanath Jayasuriya.
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