Umpire Bruce Oxenford pioneers shield during Edgbaston ODI

Bruce Oxenford may not leap to mind as the first choice to play Captain America in any upcoming Marvel films.

But the Australian umpire could have been mistaken for an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, when he marched onto the field carrying one on his left arm to officiate the second Royal London ODI between England and Sri Lanka at Edgbaston.

While Oxenford had worn the lollipop-shaped guard in April during the IPL match between Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore, and earlier at a World T20 warm-up match between Australia and the West Indies, this is the first time the protective device has appeared in an international match and represents another step towards greater protection for officials.

The issue of umpire safety was thrust into the limelight in 2014 when an official died after being struck in the head by a ball during a league match in Israel.

Earlier this year Australian John Ward became the first umpire to wear a helmet in an international match during the fourth ODI between Australia and India at Manuka Oval.

The shield worn by Oxenford is made from polycarbonate, weighs one kilogram and is six millimetres thick. The version used at Edgbaston is the second incarnation of the device and it was tested in the nets before being cleared for use during the match.

An ECB spokesman confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that, if a batsman struck the ball and it deflected off the shield and was subsequently caught, the batsman would be given out, in contrast to the situation for fielders wearing protective headgear. If the ball strikes the helmet before looping to a fielder, dead ball is called.