Australia spinner Nathan Lyon said his heart skipped a beat when a fearsome Mitchell Johnson bouncer crashed into the helmet of India captain Virat Kohli in the first Adelaide Test on Thursday
Adelaide: Australia spinner Nathan Lyon said his heart skipped a beat when a fearsome Mitchell Johnson bouncer crashed into the helmet of India captain Virat Kohli in the first Adelaide Test on Thursday.
Bowling bouncers has become a sensitive issue following the death of Australian Test batsman Phillip Hughes, after he was fatally struck in the head by a short-pitched delivery in a domestic game late last month. With emotions still raw, there was immediate concern as Kohli ducked into the path of Johnson's menacing rising ball, which thudded into the front of his helmet.
Australian players gather around India's batsman Virat Kohli after he was struck by a bouncer bowled by Australia's Mitchell Johnson. Photo: AFP
Fortunately, all was well and Kohli went on to score a fighting 115 in India's 369 for five at the close of the third day's play.
Lyon, who was on the field for New South Wales when South Australian batsman Hughes was hit, said the Kohli incident sent a chill through the players. "Your heart skips a beat, especially for those four (NSW) guys out there," Lyon said. "I went to everyone just to ask if they were okay because it's something that you don't want to see again when we were out there with Phil's (Hughes) incident and today that sound was pretty familiar.
"That's why we all ran in there quite quickly to see if Virat was okay. That was the main thing." - 'The helmets work' - Lyon said at least players could take heart from the fact that Kohli's helmet was undamaged, indicating the Indian skipper was fully protected from the heavy blow.
"It's probably has been a positive thing because we know that the helmets work and to have that confidence that our quicks can bowl the bouncer again," Lyon said. "We spoke about that at lunch time with Mitch (Johnson), he's feeling good and I can guarantee he's going to come out firing in the second innings and have that aggression that we all love him for."
Batting partner Cheteshwar Pujara, who was at the non-striker's end, went straight to Kohli's aid. "I went to Virat and asked him if he was all right, and first we checked the helmet to see if there was any damage but it was fine," Pujara said.
"He batted really well, forgetting about that particular ball. His innings was very crucial for us and it was fun to watch." Johnson said before the Adelaide Test that he would not shy away from bowling bouncers in the wake of the Hughes tragedy.
"We've got to play the way that we've been playing and that's been aggressive," Johnson told reporters on match-eve. "That's the way I've always played the game and if that's bowling the short ball like we have been, then that's how we'll do it. We'll assess the conditions obviously, but we're not going to change a thing."