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Phil Hughes air lifted by helicopter to hospital after bouncer strike

Cricketer Phil Hughes is still critical in St Vincent’s Hospital. Family and Michael Clarke have been seen leaving the hospital early this morning. The cricketer was hit in the head by a bouncer at the SCG during a Sheffield Shield match.

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Hughes is in an induced coma in intensive care at St Vincent’s Hospital after surgery on Tuesday night to relieve pressure on his brain.

He remains in a critical condition and the outcome of the surgery is not expected to be known until Wednesday or Thursday.

Clarke was one of the first people to arrive at the hospital on Tuesday and is comforting Hughes’ mother and sister, who were watching the game in the stands.

Clarke returned to the hospital about 7am on Wednesday, according to the ABC.

Tributes for Hughes have been flowing in from the cricket community around the world.

England captain Alastair Cook said he was in shock at the news.

Cook told the BBC the thoughts and prayers of the England team were with Hughes and his family.

Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland said he had received numerous messages of support, including from the New Zealand team which is touring the United Arab Emirates.

The 25-year-old former Test batsman was transported to hospital in a critical condition after being struck on the lower back of his neck by a Sean Abbott delivery during the second session of South Australia’s Sheffield Shield match with NSW.

The Australian cricket team’s Dr Peter Brukner will give a condition update on Wednesday morning.

"Phillip is in the best possible medical hands. The Cricket Australia community and his teammates … are thinking of his family and friends at this point," he told media on Tuesday night outside the hospital.

Hughes made his Test debut in 2009 and has played 26 Tests for Australia, compiling 1535 runs at an average of 32.66.

With Australian selector Mark Waugh looking on in the SCG stands, Hughes had put together a composed 63 off 161 as he attempted to earn a Test recall for next week’s series opener against India.

Before the match he was considered a leading contender to replace Clarke in the Australian batting line-up for next week’s first Test against India with the Test captain struggling to recover from a hamstring injury.

Phil Hughes during his innings at the SCG.

Phil Hughes during his innings at the SCG. Photo: Getty Images

NSW team, doctor John Orchard was on the boundary administering assistance as Hughes lay on a stretcher on the medicab. Medical staff were working on Hughes 15 minutes after the delivery struck him and eventually three ambulances arrived on the ground to administer assistance.

Phil Hughes is stretchered off the SCG.

Phil Hughes is stretchered off the SCG.

Players and ground staff held up a white sheet to screen him from the spectators who were looking on.

Play was suspended immediately with the umpires later calling an early tea break. Hughes’ former opening partner David Warner stood by his friend’s side, as did Blues skipper Brad Haddin and some South Australian players.

The South Australian opener was breathing through an oxygen mask. 

Hughes was unbeaten on 61 and fighting for a berth in the squad for the first Test next week with the likely exclusion of skipper and No.4 batsman Michael Clarke due to a hamstring injury.

The manner in which the former Test opener collapsed, face-first onto the ground was like watching a boxer who falls from a delayed knockout blow. 

At tea, the Redbacks are on 2-136. Mark Cosgrove (32) and Callum Ferguson (5), who was also considered a contender for an international call up, were the two South Australian batsmen dismissed.

Nathan Lyon has 1-31 for NSW, while former Australia bowler Doug Bollinger has 1-32.

The incident with Hughes occurred as NSW batsman Ben Rohrer was ruled out of the game after being concussed by a short delivery against Victoria in the opening round of the Sheffield Shield by Chris Tremain.

Cricket Australia was scrutinising it’s concussion rule as a result of Rohrer’s injury.