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Jos Buttler ‘feared the worst’ after pull shot struck fielder’s helmet

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Jos Buttler confessed to fearing the worst after a powerful pull shot he played hit Pathun Nissanka – fielding at short leg – flush in the middle of the helmet during England’s warm-up game against a Sri Lanka XI on Wednesday, October 31.

Nissanka looked to duck for cover as Buttler – batting on 44 at the time – unleashed the stroke, only for the ball to thud into the helmet. Play was then halted for 20 minutes as the 20-year-old lay flat on the ground, with England’s team doctor Moiz Moghal checking up on him before he was stretchered off the field into a waiting ambulance.

Although Nissanka never lost conciousness, the incident left Buttler deeply concerned. Thankfully, doctors have confirmed that Nissanka is doing alright and the possibility of serious injury has been all but ruled out.

Pathun Nissanka had to be stretchered off the field for further assessment after the blow

Pathun Nissanka had to be stretchered off the field after the blow

“You always fear the worst,” Buttler said. “I hit him very hard and straight in the middle of the helmet, but luckily the doctor and physio rushed straight on and treated him, and it’s good to know he’s doing better.

“It’s always a thankless position to field and unfortunately these things can happen and hopefully he’s not badly hurt. You’re just worried, that’s the nature of it. Of course you don’t mean to cause injury, it’s just a real unfortunate accident but he’s doing a lot better.”

Sri Lanka XI coach Avishka Gunawardene confirmed that preliminary medical tests were good. “He’s stable and conscious – there’s nothing alarming.” He added that MRI scans would follow in order “to make sure there’s no bleeding and that everything’s ok”.

Nissanka played his role in Buttler’s dismissal, though, as the ball lobbed up off the helmet for a catch to Angelo Mathews at leg-slip – a reflection of the recent change of law which allows batsmen to be caught out even if it comes in contact with a fielder’s helmet.

There was another injury concern, a less worrying one, when Ben Stokes had to retire hurt for just 10 after being struck on the elbow by a short ball from Lahiru Kumara. He later resumed the innings, however, to score 31.

Joe Root (R) and Moeen Ali were the two best performers for England with the bat

Joe Root (R) and Moeen Ali were the two best performers for England with the bat

Skipper Joe Root had the best returns with the bat, scoring a century before retiring out. Rory Burns impressed at the top of the order with a steady 47, while Moeen Ali scored 60 as England reached 365-7 as stumps were drawn on the second and final day’s play.

England will look for further acclimatisation for the challenges of the Test series in the second two-day warm-up game, starting November 1. The three-Test series gets underway on November 6 in Galle. The following matches will be played in Kandy and Colombo respectively.

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