Australian opener Matthew Hayden broke his toe while scoring 181 not out against New Zealand in a limited-overs match Tuesday. The injury could seriously affect his preparation for the World Cup in the Caribbean next month.
Hayden was struck on the right big toe by a yorker from New Zealand seamer Mark Gillespie when on 102. He played out the rest of his innings with a runner, striking 10 sixes an Australian record to pass Mark Waugh's mark of 173 for the highest score by an Australian in limited-overs internationals.
Australia lost the match by one wicket when New Zealand scored 350-9 in reply to Australia's 346-5.
Team officials thought Hayden had only suffered bruising, but subsequent x-rays showed the veteran Queenslander had sustained a fracture.
Team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said Hayden's condition would be assessed more closely once he returned to Brisbane on Wednesday.
"An x-ray of Matthew Hayden's right foot has shown a fracture," he said. "He will see a specialist in Brisbane tomorrow, at which point his medical management will be outlined, including his return to play."
While Hayden will likely be fit in time for the World Cup, the usual three- to four-week time frame for the healing of a toe fracture might leave him unable to leave Australia with the squad or take part in their two warmup games.
"I'm really disappointed," said Hayden. "The good news is ... we've got a bit of time, and time is the only thing that heals bone.
"It's been a pretty frustrating day. I must admit when I got hit on the toe I knew it was broken, it just felt ordinary. I couldn't put any weight on it at all."
The Australians fly to the Caribbean on Feb. 28, with warmup matches against Zimbabwe and England scheduled for March 6 and 9 on the island of St. Vincent.
Their first match of the tournament is against Scotland in St. Kitts on March 14.
Hayden's fracture is one of several key injuries to Australian players in the leadup to the World Cup.
Brett Lee tore ankle ligaments in the team's first tour training session at the Basin Reserve in Wellington last week, causing him to fly home before the first match in the Chappell-Hadlee series.
Michael Clarke failed a fitness test for a hip problem prior to the first game and flew home the day after Australia's 10-wicket loss, reports AP.
As well, allrounder Andrew Symonds has a shoulder injury and is in doubt for the tournament.