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Saturday, 15 December, 2001, 13:26 GMT
Casualties of cricket
Lara falls to the ground
Lara was in agony after colliding with Atapattu
Brian Lara's freak accident in Kandy is thankfully one of only a few that have beset cricketers. BBC Sport Online's Thrasy Petropoulos takes a look back.

It should have been a straightforward single but it resulted in Brian Lara being carried off on a stretcher after colliding with a Sri Lankan fielder.

Lara dislocates his left elbow but early reports of a broken forearm were disproven in hospital.

Once again, cricket had shown itself capable of claiming a victim in the most unlikely of circumstances.

For as long as the game has been played, cricketers have found unusual - and often gory - ways of being injured.

Kandy, the scene of Lara's painful collision with Marvan Atapattu was the venue of perhaps the most grisly on-field accident in modern Tests two years ago.

With Australian captain Steve Waugh running back from square leg and Jason Gillsepie running in from the midwicket boundary to catch a skyer off Mahela Jayawardene, the horror of the crash between the fielders was apparent to all even before it happened.

Steve Waugh in pain in Kandy
Waugh suffered a grisly broken nose
In a sickening blow, Waugh suffered a badly broken nose and Gillespie a broken leg that would keep him out the national side throughout the Australian season.

In what Wisden describes as "reminiscent of a scene out of Apocalypse Now", a helicopter - "dark green and menacing" - landed on the outfield to pick up the two injured players before flying them to a Colombo hospital.

Then there was the case of David "Syd" Lawrence who collapsed in mid-delivery stride and shattered a knee cap while bowling for England in New Zealand in 1991.

Of course, not all cricket injuries involve blood and gore, but that is not so say that freak accidents cannot have a devastating effect on the player's career.

Terry Alderman missed more than a year of international cricket and had to reinvent himself as a medium-fast seam and swing bowler when he badly damaged his right shoulder while rugby tackling a male streaker during the Perth Test against England in 1981/82.

Terry Alderman is carried off in Perth
Alderman was injured tackling a streaker
And Paul Downton was enjoying a routing county match for Middlesex when he suffered a career-ending injury when he was struck in the left eye by a bail while wicket-keeping.

Broken fingers, arms and noses, and other injuries as a result of being hit by the ball, are so commonplace in cricket that they barely need recording.

But in Andy Lloyd's case the moment he chose to take a blow on the head from Malcolm Marshall could not have been more unfortunately timed.

Picked to face the West Indies on his home ground, Edgbaston, in 1984, he had reason to be satisfied seven overs into England's innings when he had reached ten not out - until, that is, Malcolm dropped one short and "clocked" him on the side of the head.

Lloyd retired hurt and was absent for the rest of the series. It was his first - and last - Test for England. At least he can claim to have gone through his Test career without having been dismissed.

And it is not just the cricketers who occasionally find themselves in the firing line.

Colin Croft once shoulder-barged a New Zealand umpire after feeling aggrieved that a decision had gone against him in 1979/80.

And Dickie Bird's footwork was not quite nimble enough when he was struck a painful blow on the ankle by an Ian Botham straight drive in 1984.

Then there are the downright ludicrous injuries.

Derek Pringle takes the biscuit for once missing a Test after hurting himself while writing a letter on the eve of the match.

But former Essex team-mate Don Topley runs him close for having damaged a hand on a spring-loaded letterbox while delivering a letter to a friend.

Former Essex seamer Don Topley
Topley damaged his hand on a letter box
Ted Dexter broke his leg when his own car ran him over and Gil Langley, the Australian wicketkeeper in the 1950s, once missed a Test after injuring a hand by lying on it during his sleep.

Perhaps the most injury-prone was Ian Grieg, of Sussex and Surrey.

After scoring 42 on the first day of a county match for Sussex, Grieg broke his ankle when he fell 18 feet while trying to break into his own house after snapping the key in the front door lock.

Some time later, Grieg was hit on the finger by a Pakistan bowler and went to hospital for the x-ray which revealed a break. As he got up, he hit his head on the x-ray machine and needed two stitches.

At least all of the above instances of cricketing injuries can be imagined. But try if you can to visualise the Rev. Walter Marcon (1824-1875), an Old Etonian and one of the fastest bowlers in the 1840s.

At Oxford, he once bowled so fast that he broke the leg of a batsman - and all the time he was bowling underarm.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Colin Croft for BBC Sport
"Lara was writhing in pain"
The Triangular Series in Colombo pits the Windies, Zimbabwe and host nation Sri Lanka together

Final: SL beat WI

Match 6: WI beat Zim

Match 5: SL beat WI

Match 4: SL beat Zim

Match 3: WI beat SL

Match 2: Zim beat WI

Match 1: SL beat Zim

FIXTURES AND RESULTS
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