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March 5, 2008
England suffered an injury scare on the opening morning of the first Test at Hamilton when Ian Bell had to be sent to hospital for precautionary X-rays, after taking a sharp blow to the right wrist while fielding at short leg. Fortunately the scan revealed no broken bones, only heavy bruising, and Bell later returned to the ground with his arm in a sling.
The injury occurred midway through the 11th over of the first day's play. Ryan Sidebottom dropped short and New Zealand's opener, Matthew Bell, climbed into a fierce pull shot. Bell, standing only yards from the bat, put his hands up in self-defence and the ball crashed into the fleshy area on the outer side of his wrist.
Bell fell to the ground immediately and was in clear pain as he was led from the field, with his wrist visibly swollen. It was England's second visit to the A&E department of Waikato Hospital in as many days, after Phil Mustard suffered a broken nose during net practice on Tuesday, and had a break been diagnosed it would almost certainly have spelled the end of Bell's tour.
Instead he was scheduled to take no further part in the day's play, and a decision will be taken at a later date as to whether he will bat in England's innings. "He's been X-rayed and he's been MRIed as a double-check," said Peter Moores, England's coach. "It's deep bruising and he's been icing it every half an hour. Hopefully by tomorrow morning we'll be able to see where he can bat. At the moment the medical staff are hopeful that, if they treat it all night, he'll be able to bat tomorrow."
Because the injury is an exterior one, and sustained during play, he will not be required to bat down the order to compensate for his time off the field, although it is likely that England will take as much time as possible to allow the swelling to go down. "It's a lucky escape as it just missed the bony part of the wrist," said Moores. "Lucky or unlucky, whichever way you look at it."