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Hughes' batting partner denies sledging

Cricket

Phillip Hughes’ batting partner when he was fatally felled by a cricket ball says he’s confident NSW paceman Doug Bollinger didn’t say something like “I’m going to kill you” before the tragic incident.

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South Australian batsman Tom Cooper, who was the non-striker when Hughes was hit in the side of the neck in November 2014, also says he can’t remember telling Hughes’ brother Jason about Bollinger’s alleged comments after the 25-year-old’s death.

An inquest at Sydney’s Downing Centre has heard the Hughes family is concerned the batsman was subjected to ungentlemanly bowling and sledging before being hit at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Cooper used to live with Hughes.

“Mr Cooper, I suggest to you, you told Jason these words and you are now denying them,” barrister for the Hughes family Greg Melick SC said today.

“No,” Cooper replied.

Jason Hughes shook his head at times during Cooper’s evidence.

The coroner’s court heard Cooper did not want to view any footage from the day of play unless absolutely necessary for forensic purposes.

“Unfortunately, yes,” he said when asked whether he still had memories of the incident.

Cooper said the NSW team seemed to be bowling short at Hughes in an attempt to slow the run rate but that he did not seem concerned.

In a statement read to the court, Cooper said he didn’t think there was anything inappropriate about his opponents’ tactics, and that bowling short at a batsman who had been at the crease for some time was common.

State coroner Michael Barnes will examine the nature of play, the response to Hughes’ injury and whether different safety equipment should be recommended.

In her opening, counsel assisting Kristina Stern SC said the coroner may find that there was little that could have been done to avoid Hughes’ death once he was injured.

The inquest will also hear evidence today from Australian vice-captain Dave Warner via video link from South Africa, where he is competing in the international one-day series.

-AAP

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