Richard Levi suffered concussion after being struck on the head while batting for Northants in their Specsavers County Championship Division Two defeat to Worcestershire at the County Ground on Sunday.
The South African was hit by a bouncer from pace bowler Josh Tongue just before lunch, and was taken to Northampton General Hospital for treatment.
There were concerns the batsman may have suffered serious injury, but he was later released from hospital having been diagnosed with ‘mild concussion’.
The player later tweeted ‘Given the all clear after my blow this afternoon. Thankfully no fracture just a concussion and observation. Thanks to all those who helped’.
Levi had been playing well, making 28 not out, and him being forced to retire hurt was a blow to the County’s chance of setting a testing fourth innings target.
As it was, despite a superb rearguard action from Rob Keogh, they set Worcester 148 to win, and that was never likely to be enough.
Rory Kleinveldt did take two wickets but Worcestershire had Daryl Mitchell to steer them home, and he followed up his first-innings 161 with a 68-ball 78 not out, as he and Joe Clarke saw the visitors to their fourth win in four matches this season.
Northants had been totally outplayed in the first two days, and did show more spirit on the third, but it was too little, too late.
Despite the blow of losing Levi, Northants totalled 343, maninly thanks to Keogh’s 88 not out.
Ben Duckett also scored a half-century, but he was hoping for an even bigger score ahead of the England Lions series against South Africa A that starts on Thursday, especially as England national selector James Whittaker was watching on.
He resumed 25 not out and survived two top-edged hooks that just evaded long leg and deep square respectively. He found his touch with three boundaries in an over against Jack Shantry, including a fierce pull over mid-wicket, and passed fifty in 72 balls with nine fours.
But to the third ball of Nathan Lyon’s first over of the day, Duckett went to paddle sweep a ball drifting towards off stump, missed, and was given out by umpire Patrick Gustard.
Dcuektt’s was one of only two wickets to fall in the morning session after nightwatchman Nathan Buck chipped Shantry’s third ball of the day to mid-off.
But after lunch Northants failed to get a significant partnership together.
Adam Rossington never settled against Lyon and slapped a ball only just over the head of mid-off. He over-balanced to a ball that turned down the leg side and Ben Cox effected a very sharp stumping.
Rory Kleinveldt provided a bright flurry including two sixes before he lifted Lyon to long-on.
In between those dismissals, Steven Crook chipped Shantry straight to mid-on.
It meant Keogh ran out of partners.
Dropped on 28 by Tom Fell at silly mid-on, he went through to his first Championship fifty of the season in 95 balls and hitting seven boundaries.
Northants have now lost two Championship matches in a row, having won their opening two, and will be hoping they can regain their winning form when they travel to the Emirates Riverside to take on Durham in their next match, which starts on Friday.