Cricket: Aussie bouncer breaks Sri Lanka skipper's helmet

Sri Lanka's captain Angelo Mathews getting hit on the helmet by a ball the One Day International match against Australia in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, on Aug 31, 2016.
Sri Lanka's captain Angelo Mathews getting hit on the helmet by a ball the One Day International match against Australia in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, on Aug 31, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

DAMBULLA, Sri Lanka (AFP) - Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews was badly shaken on Wednesday after a bouncer smashed into his helmet during a match against Australia and broke a protective strap designed to safeguard the back of his skull.

Play was stopped for several minutes while Mathews recovered from the impact of the ball from fast bowler Scott Boland which evoked memories of the on-field death of the Australian batsman Phillip Hughes in 2014.

Mathews was struck after losing sight and then turning his back on a rising delivery from Boland which thudded into the base of the helmet, just above his neck.

The 29-year-old could be seen rubbing the back of his head vigorously and was given the once-over by Sri Lankan physio Paul Klarenaar.

The umpires called an early drinks break but Mathews then carried on with his innings before retiring hurt with an unrelated calf injury. He had made 28 in the fourth one-day international being played in Dambulla.

The world of international cricket was stunned two years when Hughes died from bleeding on the brain after being hit on the base of the skull by a rising ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground during a domestic match.