Sean Abbott claims career-best bowling figures on return to cricket

Bowler who delivered ball that led to Philip Hughes’s death wins game for New South Wales

Australian bowler Sean Abbott took six wickets for 14 in Queensland’s second innings to help New South Wales beat Queensland. It was the 22-year-old’s return to cricket following the death of Phillip Hughes.  Photograph: Matt King/Getty Images

Australian bowler Sean Abbott took six wickets for 14 in Queensland’s second innings to help New South Wales beat Queensland. It was the 22-year-old’s return to cricket following the death of Phillip Hughes. Photograph: Matt King/Getty Images

 

Sean Abbott, the Australian fast bowler who delivered the ball that killed Phillip Hughes, has made a remarkable return to cricket, helping New South Wales beat Queensland on Friday with career-best bowling figures.

The 22-year-old Abbott has been receiving counselling, and the support of the cricketing world, after he bowled the bouncer that struck Hughes on the neck last month.

Hughes died in a Sydney hospital two days later, triggering a massive outpouring of grief in Australia, and devastating Abbott, a former team-mate and friend of Hughes.

Abbott attended his funeral and was consoled by Hughes’s family and other cricketers, who urged him to resume playing.

Still stricken by grief, he made his return this week at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the same venue where Hughes was fatally injured.

After a slow start in which he took two wickets in Queensland’s first innings, Abbott hit his stride on Friday, showing why he is regarded as one of Australia’s rising talents.

With the match seemingly heading to a draw, Abbott produced an extraordinary spell to capture 6 for 14 as Queensland collapsed to 99 all out in their second innings and NSW wrapped up victory.

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