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Tom Blundell on standby after Henry Nicholls gets hit by Jofra Archer’s bouncer in first Test

The hosts ended the day at 144 for 4 in reply to England’s 353 in the first innings.

New-Zealand-batsman-Henry-Nicholls
New-Zealand-batsman-Henry-Nicholls. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

New Zealand took on England in the first Test of the two-match series in Mount Maunganui on Thursday. The Kiwis suffered a huge blow when Henry Nicholls got hit to the head while batting. It was towards the end of Day 2 at the Bay Oval when the 28-year-old was hit by a sharp bouncer from Jofra Archer that came in at 86 mph. Nicholls, however, looked fine as the hosts ended the day at 144 for 4 in reply to England’s 353 in the first innings.

But according to a report by ESPNcricinfo, Henry Nicholls will still need to undergo two further tests- one overnight and one before the start of the third day’s play for getting the green signal to resume his innings. If he fails to make it in the middle along with his unbeaten partner Bradley-John Watling, Tom Blundell will take his place. Blundell, who has played only two Tests but has one hundred, is a wicket-keeper as well and on the standby for Nicholls.

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Several batsmen have suffered concussion because of Archer

Delayed signs of concussion are not unusual for cricketers. Former South Africa batsman Hashim Amla was hit by the same bowler during the opening game of the ICC World Cup this year at the Oval. He left the field for some time but was then ruled out of the next game against Bangladesh.

Australia’s Steve Smith was also hit on the neck by Archer during the Ashes after the World Cup at Lord’s and missed the next match in Headingley because of concussion. He though resumed batting in the innings after a short break after passing the initial concussion test but after his condition deteriorated, Smith missed the remainder of the game and ruled out of the next.

Even on the current tour, Archer’s prolific pace hit Hamish Rutherford early in his innings during a three-day warm-up game between New Zealand ‘A’ and England in Whangarei last week. The opener made a fifty but yet was forced to go out of the rest of the game because of concussion.

Smith’s injury in England saw Marnus Labuschagne becoming the first-ever concussion substitute in the history of Test cricket under the new ICC rules introduced on August 1 that allow teams to bring in a so-called “like-for-like” replacement for a player suffering from concussion during a match.

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