England’s Test warm-up in Colombo was interrupted by the worrying sight of an opposing player leaving the pitch on a stretcher after Ben Stokes brushed aside his own minor injury concern.
Stokes was forced to retire hurt in the afternoon session after being hit by a short ball above the left elbow, but suffered nothing more serious than bruising and resumed his innings after tea when Joe Root retired on 101.
There was more concern over Pathum Nissanka, who was taken to hospital after being struck by a powerful Jos Buttler pull on the top of the helmet while fielding at short-leg.
Nissanka received lengthy treatment from England’s medical staff, with team doctor Moiz Moghal, physio Craig de Weymarn and massage therapist Mark Saxby among those to assist as the 20-year-old was carefully lifted on to a stretcher with his head braced.
Nissanka was said to be conscious, but complaining of soreness in his neck and the teams eventually agreed to take an early tea.
Almost as a footnote, Buttler was given out with the ball caught by Angelo Mathews at leg-slip after ricocheting off Nissanka’s helmet, leaving England 220 for four.
The tourists’ new-look top order had earlier enjoyed differing fortunes in their response to the hosts 392 on day one.
Keaton Jennings, retained after a lean summer following Alastair Cook’s retirement, chopped on to his stumps for 13 – reacting to his dismissal with a frustrated swing of the bat.
Newcomer Rory Burns, though, looked in fine touch as he struck nine fours on his way to a neat 47. He had yet to offer up a chance when a miscommunication saw him run out by a direct-hit.
Joe Denly, a possible rival for Jennings, did little to state his own case in an unconvincing knock of 25.
Denly started poorly and was bowled immediately after lunch.
Joe Root was in typically good touch, resuming for the final session on 79 not out after putting on 108 with Buttler (44).
He left the field as soon as he reached three figures with a 13th boundary, with Stokes re-emerging to dispel concerns over his fitness.
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