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England's Jonny Bairstow has injury scare in Townsville

by 15/11/2017 02:32:00 0 comments 1 Views
  • Jonny Bairstow left the field after suffering an injury to his hand on Wednesday 
  • But he was able to return to the field after it was diagnosed as just bruising 
  • Chris Woakes took six wickets during an outstanding display in Townsville 
  • The Cricket Australia XI ended the first day on 249-9 as they struggled 

By Paul Newman for MailOnline

Published: 02:28 EST, 15 November 2017 | Updated: 02:32 EST, 15 November 2017

For a few worrying minutes, when Jonny Bairstow kicked the turf in frustration and had to leave the field after being struck by a nasty blow on the middle finger of his left hand, England appeared to have suffered their biggest Ashes blow yet.

After all, an England side already without their principal all-rounder in Ben Stokes could ill-afford to lose another key member of the lower middle order engine room just a week before the big day in Brisbane.

Thankfully, after Ben Foakes had spent just under an hour deputising tidily behind the stumps, Bairstow was back after being diagnosed with just bruising and an England show that has stuttered so far in Australia was back on the road.

Jonny Bairstow suffered an injury scare during England's last warm-up game in Townsville
Jonny Bairstow suffered an injury scare during England's last warm-up game in Townsville

Jonny Bairstow suffered an injury scare during England's last warm-up game in Townsville

There were huge fears that England would lose another member of their lower middle order
There were huge fears that England would lose another member of their lower middle order

There were huge fears that England would lose another member of their lower middle order

But Bairstow managed to return to the field after his injury was diagnosed as just bruising
But Bairstow managed to return to the field after his injury was diagnosed as just bruising

But Bairstow managed to return to the field after his injury was diagnosed as just bruising

The incident came just after lunch on a slow first day of England's last warm-up game before the first Test when a ball from the outstanding Chris Woakes bounced where keepers least like it just in front of Bairstow and hit his hand.

A grimacing Bairstow, who had found the pink ball in Adelaide last week very hard on his hands, was treated by physio Craig de Weymarn both on and off the field before, thankfully for England, a break or dislocation was ruled out.

The day had not exactly started on the right note for Bairstow either when the impressive scoreboard at this picturesque Riverway Stadium had Matt Prior keeping for England instead of him, an aberration that was quickly corrected.

Chris Woakes was in exceptional form during the first day at the Riverway Stadium
Chris Woakes was in exceptional form during the first day at the Riverway Stadium

Chris Woakes was in exceptional form during the first day at the Riverway Stadium

England cricket coach Trevor Bayliss watches on during the first day in Townsville
England cricket coach Trevor Bayliss watches on during the first day in Townsville

England cricket coach Trevor Bayliss watches on during the first day in Townsville

ASHES TOUR 2017-18 

NOVEMBER 

15-18 Cricket Australia XI (Townsville)

23-27 First Test (Brisbane)

DECEMBER

2-6 Second Test (Adelaide, d/n)

9-10 Cricket Australia XI (Perth)

14-18 Third Test (Perth)

26-30 Fourth Test (Melbourne)

JANUARY

4-8 Fifth Test (Sydney) 

Then, after Bairstow had been forced to make a temporary exit, there was a near 10 minute wait for Surrey's Foakes to be summoned from the nets for a quick change into whites and his first appearance for the full England team.

Yet how England needed Bairstow to be given a clean bill of health after leaving Stokes at home, losing Steven Finn and then seeing Jake Ball suffer an ankle injury that is keeping him out of this game against a Cricket Australia XI.

They even saw Jimmy Anderson added to the casualty list when he was laid low for two days with a virus but the leader of England's attack was never due to play here and was sufficiently recovered to be back bowling in the nets on Wednesday. As too, off a few paces at least, was Ball, who could yet play in the first Test.

The bowling in the middle was again dominated by the encouraging sight of Woakes following his match-winning spell of four for 12 in Adelaide with an even better one, taking four for eight at one stage and ending with six wickets.

Simon Milenko is bowled out by Woakes during a disappointing day for Cricket Australia
Simon Milenko is bowled out by Woakes during a disappointing day for Cricket Australia

Simon Milenko is bowled out by Woakes during a disappointing day for Cricket Australia

Woakes managed to take six wickets during a brilliant performance in Queensland
Woakes managed to take six wickets during a brilliant performance in Queensland

Woakes managed to take six wickets during a brilliant performance in Queensland

It left another weak looking Cricket Australia XI, who made two changes to the team comprehensively beaten by England in Adelaide, ending with a flourish by taking 16 off the last over from Mason Crane to stand on 249 for nine.

'Who needs Stokes when you've got Woakes,' shouted one member of a small but boisterous north Queensland crowd who were able to replicate, at least on a lesser scale, the type of reception awaiting England at the Gabba next week.

This has been an encouraging return to form for a bowler who became one of England's most important players before suffering a serious side injury during the Champions Trophy that ruled him out for the bulk of last summer.

Woakes returned to the England side prematurely for the Test won dramatically by West Indies at Headingley and was left out of the decider at Lord's before still looking rusty in the opening match of this tour in Perth.

He was much more like his old self in Adelaide and was keen to play here where he again looked England's best bowler after an unproductive first spell encouraged him to switch ends.

James Vince takes an outstanding gully catch to dismiss Cricket Australia XI's Nick Larkin
James Vince takes an outstanding gully catch to dismiss Cricket Australia XI's Nick Larkin

James Vince takes an outstanding gully catch to dismiss Cricket Australia XI's Nick Larkin

Stuart Broad celebrates tacking the wicket of Gurinder Sandhu on Wednesday
Stuart Broad celebrates tacking the wicket of Gurinder Sandhu on Wednesday

Stuart Broad celebrates tacking the wicket of Gurinder Sandhu on Wednesday

Woakes was helped by an outstanding gully catch from James Vince and two regulation ones behind the stumps, with Bairstow and the keeper allowed to deputise for him under new MCC regulations in Foakes taking one apiece.

It could have been even better for Woakes had a diving Bairstow not spilled a difficult chance to reprieve Simon Milenko before he had scored while Mark Stoneman also dropped a difficult diving effort off the expensive Crane at cover.

That proved an annoying one for England as the home captain Matthew Short, who was on 25 at the time, went on to top score with 51 before becoming the second of Craig Overton's two victims.

Stuart Broad had a quiet day for England until he finally struck with the second new ball but that is of little real concern as he is such a big match bowler while spin in the form of Crane and Moeen Ali, on for the 11th over of the innings on his return after injury, went wicketless. 

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