England have suffered a fresh injury concern ahead of the Ashes after Jonny Bairstow was forced off the field on the first day of the warm-up match in Townsville.
Bairstow, England’s wicketkeeper, appeared to hurt a finger on his left hand after struggling to collect a delivery from Chris Woakes that bounced just in front of him. Bairstow remained on the pitch for one more delivery but then kicked the turf in frustration and, after a lengthy delay for treatment, left the pitch.
The umpires permitted Ben Foakes, who is not in the side but is England’s reserve wicketkeeper on the tour, to take the gloves in Bairstow’s place. Within a few minutes Foakes had taken a catch off the bowling of Chris Woakes.
While Foakes is a fine keeper – he may well be better than Bairstow with the gloves – England will be hugely concerned by the potential loss of Bairstow as a batsman. He has averaged 45.53 since he came back into the Test side mid-way through 2015 and was scheduled to bat at No. 6 in the absence of Ben Stokes.
Woakes, meanwhile, claimed four wickets for eight runs in his second spell of the day as England hit back after a strong opening partnership by the Cricket Australia XI.
There was better news for England regarding James Anderson. He missed training on Tuesday due to illness but was well enough to bowl in the nets on Wednesday.