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Hughes death will cast shadow over Sri Lanka ODI – Cook

COLOMBO: Alastair Cook says England and Sri Lanka will play with heavy hearts in their one-day international on Saturday, but that the show must go on as a mark of respect to Phillip Hughes.

The talented Australian, 25, died in a Sydney hospital on Thursday after sustaining serious head injuries while batting in a domestic Sheffield Shield game match two days earlier.

England captain Cook said the teams had decided to go ahead with Saturday’s second ODI in Colombo to “show our respects in the right way for Phil”, but admitted they may not play with their usual flair.

“It was been a really sad day yesterday, a tragic day for cricket,” a sombre-looking Cook told reporters on Friday ahead of the match at Premadasa stadium.

“Words I say here are not going to do any justice. It’s an incredibly sad changing room for us and all our thoughts are with Hughes’ family and those Australian players who knew him so well.

“I think the intensity will probably be less tomorrow, but both sides agreed we should carry on playing and show our respects in the right way for Phil, and try and put on a good show.”

Sri Lanka lead the seven-match series 1-0 after winning the opening match by 25 runs in Colombo on Wednesday.

Cook, a left-handed opener like Hughes, said the tragedy will not change his approach to the game.

“I certainly would not change the way I play,” he said. “You cannot have doubts in the back of your mind when you walk out to bat, (otherwise) you won’t be playing very well.

“But we have got to keep trying to improve player safety, even though I think the improvements even since I’ve started playing cricket have gone through the roof, especially helmets and in technology.

“The game of cricket will move on, but it’s a real reminder to everyone how precious life is and how lucky we are to be playing cricket.”

The series is an opportunity for both sides to prepare for the World Cup which takes place in Australia and New Zealand in February and March. -AFP

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