X-ray allays injury fears after Swann is struck on hand

 

Trent Bridge

Graeme Swann paid a painful price for helping to revive England's innings when he was struck on the left hand by the delivery that finally dismissed him.

The damage was sufficiently bad for the spinner to be sent for a "precautionary" X-ray, but an ECB statement last night confirmed that there had been "no significant damage".

With conditions favouring seam and swing bowling all day, Swann's absence did not inconvenience England as they unleashed Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan during the final hour's play. But any injury to the world's leading spinner is a cause for concern – especially given the home side's reliance on a four-man attack.

The blow that left Swann wringing his hand as he left the field was delivered by Praveen Kumar, who surprised England's No 10 batsman by making a ball lift unexpectedly. Hit hard on the glove, Swann was caught in the gully to end a splendid partnership of 73 with Stuart Broad.

Although Kumar was able to celebrate that success, he too faced a worrying end to the day. Having lost his cool during the early stages of England's innings, an appearance before match referee Ranjan Madugalle seemed inevitable – and disciplinary action quite probable.

Kumar, who put his name on the honours' board at Lord's last week by taking five wickets with an impressive display of controlled swing bowling, was anything but composed after having a tight lbw appeal against Kevin Pietersen rejected by umpire Marais Erasmus.

Given that India's refusal to accept the accuracy of ball-tracking technology has led to only a limited version of the decision review system being used in this series, it is a bit rich for any of their players to question an umpire's decision when it comes to leg before wicket.

Kumar, though, was so upset at failing to get the verdict that he approached Erasmus again at the end of the over and, having pointed a finger, had to be pulled away by team-mate Harbhajan Singh. It looked like a clear case of dissent, of the kind that normally results in a fine, but much depended on what was said and whether the South African official decided to take the matter further.

Kumar, 24, did have a spat at Lord's – but that was with a small section of the crowd who appeared to get under his skin. His disappointment yesterday, however, may have had a lot to do with the identity of the batsman. Kumar and Pietersen played a couple of seasons with the Bangalore Royal Challengers in the Indian Premier League and he clearly wanted his former team-mate's wicket.

In fact, Kumar would have been unrewarded even if DRS was being used to its full extent and India had referred it to third umpire Billy Bowden. Television replays suggested the ball was barely clipping the top of the stumps and, in that event, the on-field official's decision would not have been overturned.

So far, England have been more hard done by as a result of India's resistance to technology. The standard of umpiring at Lord's was extremely high but umpire Bowden did make a couple of errors, which could have proved costly – and which would, had India escaped with a draw, have caused quite an uproar. And yesterday, Alastair Cook would surely have reviewed the lbw decision that went against him. The ball was going over the stumps but Cook had to troop off without a word.

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