Allrounder Shane Watson’s horror winter has continued with the luckless star picking up a calf injury in Australia’s controversial win over England at Lord’s.
In a match in which David Warner suffered a broken thumb set to sideline him for up to six weeks and Ben Stokes’ ‘obstructing the field’ dismissal had the crowd baying for blood, Watson’s injury went largely unnoticed.
But given the veteran’s significant history with calf injuries, and lengthy layoffs, he must now be considered a reasonable chance not to feature again this series.
He faces the prospect of another infuriating period of rehabilitation to go with his Test dumping during the Ashes and general lucklessness with the bat this tour.
After a crucial performance with the ball in Australia’s series-opening win, Watson had followed it up with a spritely cameo with the bat as they sealed a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
He plundered 39 from 38 balls, including two savage sixes from consecutive balls off Moeen Ali which sent punters scrambling in the top tier of the Lord’s Pavilion and then the Tavern Stand.
But just as things were looking up for the 34-year-old, his body let him down once more.
Early in England’s failed chase, the affable character limped from the field as he felt his calf tighten.
Cricket Australia officials hope the injury will settle in time for Watson, who will have scans in the next 48 hours, to feature in Tuesday’s third ODI in Manchester.
It is another cruel blow for Watson, who looked crisp in his 63-run partnership with man of the match Mitch Marsh.
The match was marred by controversy involving Mitchell Starc and his captain Steve Smith after England all-rounder Stokes was dismissed.
It was the 26th over, with England’s chase keeping pace at 3 for 141, when Stokes drove a full delivery and walked out of his ground.
Starc intercepted the ball and threw it back at the stumps. While turning to scramble back, Stokes flung out an arm and knocked the throw away.
Starc appealed, Smith supported him, and umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Tim Robinson conferred before asking for a replay.
Third umpire Joel Wilson ruled Stokes out obstructing the field and the whole ground lit up.
English commentators across radio and television unanimously claimed that Stokes was protecting himself from the ball and acting on reflex.
England captain Eoin Morgan had a long and heated exchange with Smith. Australia’s captain was unrepentant and refused to withdraw the appeal.
The home crowd booed roundly through the rest of the match. They booed through the post-match presentations. They’re probably still booing on the train on the way home.
They’ll wake up in the early hours of the morning and boo the fridge while they get a glass of milk. They’ll certainly be booing at Old Trafford and Headingley.
“My interpretation of it was that his reaction wasn’t deliberate,” Morgan said after the match.
“I feel that the ball was thrown so fast that you can only react in a way that defends yourself.”
Smith countered, in a press conference where he was clearly angry at what he saw as a slight on his integrity.
“From what I saw he was trying to get back into his ground and the ball was there and he put his hand wilfully out and got it in the way of it,” he said.
The crowd response was “quite disappointing”, he said.
“It went upstairs and the umpire deemed it to be out, so you’ve got to move on from that and continue playing the game of cricket.”