London – South Africa wicket-keeper Mark Boucher left the field with an eye injury during the opening day of the Proteas' tour match against English county side Somerset at Taunton on Monday.
On the first day of competitive action of South Africa's tour of England, the 35-year-old Boucher was hit in the face after lunch when a bail ricocheted off the stumps as Gemaal Hussain was bowled by Imran Tahir.
Boucher, as would be expected for leg-spinner Tahir, was standing up to the stumps, but he was wearing a cap rather than a helmet in this two-day match.
After treatment on the field for a cut, he was helped off and taken to hospital. His place behind the stumps was taken by AB de Villiers, who has kept wicket in international matches for South Africa.
Former England wicket-keeper Paul Downton eventually had to retire after he too was hit in the face by a bail while standing up to the stumps in 1990.
Boucher has been a mainstay of the South Africa side for over a decade, appearing in 147 Tests and becoming the first wicket-keeper to take 500 catches in Test cricket, where he has also scored five hundreds with the bat.
After this fixture, South Africa have a three-day warm-up match against Kent before the first of a three-Test series against England starts at The Oval on July 19, with the tourists looking to displace their hosts as the world's number one side in the five-day format. – Sapa-AFP