September 10, 1999 – Steve Waugh and Jason Gillespie suffer horrific injuries after a collision

The play was held for a few minutes before Waugh walked off with a plastered nose and a towel around his head.

Scenes after Jason Gillespie and Steve Waugh of Australia collided attempting a catch. (Mandatory Credit: Hamish Blair/ALLSPORT)

Australia toured Sri Lanka in 1999 for the Aiwa Cup, a Triangular series that included India as the third team. Sri Lanka won the tournament defeating the Aussies in the final by eight wickets. The tri-series was followed by a 3-match Test series between Sri Lanka and Australia. The series took off at the Asgiriya Stadium in Kandy before which the Sri Lankans had never won a Test match against the Aussies in ten attempts.

Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Zoysa took three wickets apiece to run through the Australian top-order. The left-arm seamers had the visitors reduced to 60/7 before Ricky Ponting came with a rescue act. The Australian No.6 added 107 runs for the 8th wicket along with Jason Gillespie to help them go past the 150-run mark. Muttiah Muralitharan took the last three wickets including Ponting, who fell four runs short of a century. The off-spinner finished with a 4-wicket haul as the Aussies were bundled out for 188.

Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka skies the ball. Mandatory Credit: Hamish Blair/ALLSPORT

In the response, Sri Lanka were three down for 70 on the second day morning. However, Mahela Jayawardene and Aravinda de Silva didn’t let the bowlers’ hard-work go in vain. They stitched a 107-run stand for the 4th wicket before Shane Warne’s five-wicket haul ran through the Sri Lankan middle and lower-order. Off-spinner Colin Miller supported them with a four-wicket haul. The hosts finished on 234 in their first innings to take a handy 46-run lead.

A horrific collision:

Jayawardene top-edged a sweep shot off the bowling of Miller during the 39th over of the inning. Steve Waugh was fielding at short fine-leg and Jason Gillespie at deep square-leg ran towards the ball. However, both the Aussie players ended up colliding with each other grassed the catch. Waugh’s face hit Gillespie’s right shoulder who landed awkwardly in pursuit of the ball on his knee. Jayawardene and Aravinda ran a couple before they stop and didn’t take advantage of the situation.

Jason Gillespie and Steve Waugh leave the field. (Mandatory Credit: Hamish Blair/ALLSPORT)

The play was held for a few minutes before Waugh walked off with a plastered nose and a towel around his head. Gillespie was carried off the field by the security manager Reg Dickason and the fitness manager Dave Misson. Soon, the injured duo was taken to a nearby hospital where X-Rays confirmed the extent of their injuries. As a result of the collision, Waugh broke his nose while Gillespie sustained a fracture in his right tibia. Both the players didn’t feature in the game anymore and were moved to Colombo from where they’d be flying back home.

End of a drought:

Australia being forced to bat with only nine men were bowled out for only 140. The Aussies were reduced to 99/7 from 37/0 before Ponting top-scored once again with a 51-run knock and added 41 runs for the last wicket with Glenn McGrath. Sri Lanka chased down the target in 26.5 overs for the loss of four wickets to end their wait for a Test win against Australia.

Steve Waugh and Jason Gillespie of Australia wearing the wounds of their collision. (Mandatory Credit: Hamish Blair/ALLSPORT)

As the game was completed on the 3rd day itself, the Aussies got an 11-day break before the 2nd Test in Galle. Their skipper Steve Waugh recovered from the facial injury and returned in time to play the following match. The last two matches of the Test series ended in a draw as the Sri Lankans clinched the 3-match series 1-0.

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