Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews suffered a nasty blow during the fourth ODI against Australia as a bouncer struck on the back of his helmet and broke a protective strap designed to safeguard the back of his skull.

The play was stopped for several minutes while Mathews recovered from the impact of the ball from fast bowler Scott Boland which evoked memories of the on-field death of the Australian batsman Philip Hughes in 2014.

Mathews was struck after losing sight and then turning his back on a rising delivery from Boland which thudded into the base of the helmet, just above his neck.

The 29-year old could be seen rubbing the back of his head vigorously.

The umpires called an early drinks break but Mathews then carried on with his innings before retiring hurt with a calf injury which was not related to his helmet break. Mathews scored 28 before retired hurt in Dambulla.

The world of international cricket was stunned two years when Hughes died from bleeding on the brain after being hit on the base of the skull by a raising ball at the Sydney Cricket Groud during a domestic match.

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