A blood-stained Alex Carey courageously pushed through the pain barrier after a brutal blow to the chin from speedster Jofra Archer, leading a spirited Australian revival in their World Cup semi-final against England.
Promoted to No.5 after scoring more runs than any lower-order batsman in the history of the tournament, Carey got a rude introduction to life at the top when Archer’s searing lifter clocked at nearly 140kph smashed into his jaw.
The force of the knock ripped his helmet right off his head, but the ever-collected former Australian rules footballer incredibly was poised enough to catch his own helmet.
Play was initially halted for several minutes while Australia’s doctor Richard Saw and physio Dave Beakley repaired the damage.
The duo then had to make numerous return trips to the middle to patch up Carey, who looked largely unfazed despite blood streaming from his chin.
The left-hander eventually had tape wrapped around his head in a patchwork-style that evoked memories of Rick McCosker, who famously batted with a broken jaw in the 1977 Centenary Test.
With blood seeping through his bandage and staining his bright yellow shirt, Carey finally holed out off Adil Rashid’s leg-spin for 46 off 70 balls.
It ended a 103-run partnership between him and Steve Smith, who reached his fourth half-century of the tournament.
Fears of a broken jaw for Carey eased when the Australian dressing room confirmed that Carey would be fine to keep wickets in the second innings, and had the cut stitched up by the medical staff following his dismissal.
Australia had been 3-14 when Carey arrived at the crease after ace opening pair Aaron Finch and David Warner, along with newcomer Peter Handscomb, all departed within the first 31 balls of the game.
Chris Woakes claimed two wickets and Archer one as the pair delivered electric opening spells that brought the parochial Edgbaston crowd to life.
Finch became the first captain in World Cup history to be out for a golden duck in a knockout game when he was trapped lbw, Warner edged to slip for nine, while Handscomb’s scratchy 12-ball comeback knock was ended on four when he inside-edged onto his stumps.