(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Pathum Nissanka, the 20-year-old Sri Lanka Board XI batsman, will be kept in hospital overnight for observation after sustaining a blow to the head during the second day of England’s warm-up match in Colombo.
Nissanka was standing at short leg when Jos Buttler pulled a delivery from the offspinner Nishan Peiris. The ball appeared to strike Nissanka on the crown of the head as he ducked to avoid it. He was wearing a helmet but almost immediately fell to the ground clutching his head, and play was suspended while he received treatment.
Within moments the England team doctor, Moiz Moghal, ran on to the pitch to assess the situation. Nissanka remained motionless for around 20 minutes before he was taken, on a stretcher and in a neck brace, to a waiting ambulance. It is understood he did not lose consciousness but was complaining of pain in his neck.
Avishka Gunawardene, the Board XI coach, confirmed that Nissanka had been “stable and conscious” in the dressing room, and a later update from SLC confirmed that the player had avoided serious injury.
“He was immediately rushed to the hospital and was given specialist medical attention,” read the SLC statement. “While an MRI scan showed that the player is out of danger. However, he will remain in the hospital for 24 hours on observation status, following medical advice.”
The initial response to the incident appeared to be amusement as the ball had ballooned off Nissanka’s helmet to Angelo Mathews at leg slip. As a result, Buttler was given out. But the mood changed as the players realised the seriousness of the situation.
After a delay of around 20 minutes, the teams left the pitch to take tea but play resumed after the interval.
A right-handed batsman, Nissanka has represented Sri Lanka Under-19s and has played 14 first-class, 10 List A and five T20s so far.