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Cricket news - Karunaratne stretchered off after being hit by bouncer

Karunaratne being taken off the field

In a chilling scene at the Manuka Oval on Saturday, Sri Lankan opener Dimuth Karunaratne was stretchered off after being hit on the back of the head by a Pat Cummins bouncer. The left-hander had looked in little trouble up to that point while cruising to 46 before trying to duck out of the way of a pacy short-pitched delivery from Cummins. Initially, it looked like Karunaratne had been struck on the right shoulder but replays confirmed that it had struck him on the back of the neck, right under the helmet.

Karunaratne immediately hit the ground and remained motionless for a minute or so with his hands in the air and his mouth slightly open. The physios and medical personnel from both Sri Lankan and Australian teams were on the scene immediately. Karunaratne was treated on the ground for nearly 15 minutes, as substitute Roshen Silva helped take off his gloves, pads and helmet. The medicab entered the ground not long after before the paramedics at the ground had to be called in for back-up. Karunaratne scarily remained in the same spot where he'd fallen for the entire duration. Finally, around 20 minutes after he was felled, the medical staff and paramedics carefully managed to lift him off the ground and place him on the gurney that had been placed in the medicab. Fortunately, Karunaratne was seen moving his hands slightly and communicating briefly with the paramedics as they conducted various first-aid tests on him. He was then driven off as the collective hush at the Manuka Oval turned into relieved applause from the near full-house.

Ground authorities confirmed that Karunaratne's eyes were open and he was conscious while being loaded on to the ambulance before being taken to a local hospital for further tests.

While Karunaratne lay flat on the ground, the Aussies hung around not too far away with concerned looks watching proceedings. And in a poignant moment, Cummins, who'd stood around nervously towelling his face, walked up to the medicab just it was about to leave and offered a sympathetic pat on Karunaratne's thigh. Tim Paine and a couple of other Australian players had also walked up to the medical personnel to check on their injured opponent, and to inquire about his well-being.

Though it seemed like Karunaratne had escaped any serious damage-though reports are awaited-the unfortunate scenes brought back memories of the horrific Phil Hughes incident. Travis Head had incidentally spoken about Hughes a day earlier and dedicated his maiden Test century to his late teammate a day earlier.

"Dimuth complained of pain in neck and tingling to his hands following being struck in the back of the neck, decision then made to transport him to hospital where he is currently being assessed. Updates will be provided when more is known," was the official update from Cricket Australia.

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