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19 May 2024, Edition - 3232, Sunday

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Bairstow shrugs off injury scare in Townsville



England have seemingly dodged a bullet with wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow returning behind the stumps after an injury scare on day one of the tour game against the Cricket Australia XI in Townsville.

Just after lunch, Bairstow took a ball on the bounce from paceman Chris Woakes after it was left by batsman Ryan Gibson and immediately appeared to be in pain. Bairstow received lengthy treatment on his left hand from England’s physio and eventually left the field.

However, he re-emerged on the field after England officials confirmed Bairstow had suffered just a bruising to his middle finger on his left hand. Ben Foakes, England’s reserve ‘keeper, took the gloves for about an hour during Bairstow’s absence.

It was welcome news for England after a nightmare injury scourge to start their tour. The tourists had just regained key allrounder Moeen Ali after he had missed the opening two tour games with a side strain. Paceman Steven Finn has already been sent home after suffering a knee injury and quick Jake Ball sustained ankle ligament damage against the CA XI in Adelaide last week but is expected to be fit for the first Test.

The four-day match in Townsville is England’s last warm-up match before the first Ashes Test starts on November 23.

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