Joe Root commiserated with injured seamer Olly Stone after his tour of the West Indies ended on the same day his fellow bowlers filled their boots with wickets in Barbados.
Stone felt discomfort and stiffness in his lower left back after netting on Sunday and scans revealed what the England and Wales Cricket Board described as a “bone stress injury”.
While a fuller prognosis will not be forthcoming until further assessment back home it is a disappointing development for the 25-year-old, who has endured severe fitness setbacks in his career and had been eyeing a Test debut in the Caribbean after going unused in Sri Lanka.
His woes were in stark contrast to those who enjoyed a profitable time in the field on Wednesday, with a wayward CWI President’s XI offering up 19 dismissals for 203 runs in a heavily one-sided contest.
Stuart Broad was the main beneficiary, claiming four wickets in five balls either side of tea, including a hat-trick, while James Anderson instantly hit a groove with four for 12 in 11 overs.
Root declared himself happy with the cricket on offer, focusing more on the time spent in the middle and overs banked rather than the hefty volume of wickets, but felt bad for Stone.
“I’m gutted for him. He worked extremely hard to get into this squad,” said Root.
“He did some really good work in Sri Lanka, pushed his case really hard, and was doing the same here. It’s a massive blow for him personally and for us as a team too but I’m sure we’ll see plenty more of him in the future.”
No replacement has been selected yet, with Jamie Overton, Jamie Porter and Mark Wood the likeliest candidates, though any new arrivals would probably be playing a supporting role in the coming weeks.
Broad, selected for only one of the last three Tests, is expected to hold his place alongside Anderson and Sam Curran at the Kensington Oval and did his cause no harm at all.
As the proud owner of two Test hat-tricks, against India in 2011 and Sri Lanka three years later, he was not getting carried away by the removing three tail-enders in a practice match.
Having remodelled his approach to the crease over the winter, it was a welcome haul all the same.
“Hat-tricks are quite fun,” he said.
“I would love three Test hat-tricks, so maybe this was just good practice. The important thing was the new run-up, slightly shorter strides and hitting the crease hard.
“Those five or six overs in the afternoon were as good as I have felt for a long time, I got the ball swinging away from the right-handers and hit good lengths. You’re not bothered if you miss out in warm-up matches but it’s nice for the confidence if you do.”
England go straight into another two-day match against the same opponents at the 3Ws Oval, with minor concerns over how an already wearing and unpredictable pitch may play.
The tourists will bat on Thursday before returning to the field on Friday for the final day of Test preparations.
Root, Anderson and Jack Leach will sit out, meaning Jos Buttler comes in as captain along with Adil Rashid and Joe Denly.