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Australian cricketer has surgery after hit in head

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SYDNEY (AP) An Australian cricket player was struck in the head by a ball Tuesday and was in a critical condition after emergency surgery.

Batsman Phil Hughes was wearing a helmet during the domestic first-class match at Sydney Cricket Ground. He reeled back and then bent forward momentarily from the impact of the bounced throw before falling.

Umpires and players rushed to help, and doctors were quickly on the field. He was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital by ambulance. Australian team doctor Peter Brukner described the injury as ''severe'' and said the 25-year-old cricketer is in intensive care.

Cricketers began wearing helmets in the late 1970s. The 5 1/2-ounce leather ball can travel up to 100 mph.

The match between New South Wales and South Australia, where Hughes now plays provincial cricket, was canceled.