Marnus Labuschagne was at his cheeky best after the final ball of the opening day at The Oval, rekindling the controversy around Jonny Bairstow's dismissal in the second Test. Labuschagne saw off Stuart Broad's final delivery, leaving it to go through to wicketkeeper Bairstow.
But before leaving his crease he made a deliberate attempt to linger at little bit longer while looking directly at Bairstow, making sure the England keeper didn't try to stump him. Bairstow was dismissed in that exact fashion at Lord's when he mindlessly walked out of his crease while a throw from Alex Carey was coming towards his stumps.
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Bairstow thought the over was finished and the ball was dead, but as we all know it wasn't. On Thursday, Labuschagne made double-sure that Bairstow knew he was in his crease and not going anywhere, with his England rival seeing the funny side of the moment.
However Jimmy Anderson didn't and appeared to tell Labuschange "we don't do that" as they were walking off the ground. Cricket journalist Bharat Sundaresan tweeted: “Interesting chat between Marnus Labuschagne & James Anderson after the last ball of the day.
“Marnus kept dragging his bat within the crease while looking at Jonny Bairstow who had the ball in his hands. Anderson seemed to suggest 'we don’t do that' as they crossed paths.”
Every member of the England camp is absolutely kidding themselves if they think they wouldn't have done it. They all look each other in the eye and say "No. I wouldn't do that either." Whilst they all know deep down that they would. It's laughable.
— justo (@justosayin) July 27, 2023
They dont do that because Jonny cant hit the stumps
— William Tulip (@will8585) July 27, 2023
Difference is that Marnus ‘looks’ and makes sure the ball is dead.
— Bruce Mundell (@BruceMundell) July 27, 2023
It was the latest example of Labuschagne getting under the skin of the English, with some of his antics riling the hosts in the fourth Test at Old Trafford. England captain Ben Stokes took exception to Labuschagne asking the umpires to inspect the ball after it had been changed, while some fans accused the Aussie of cheating when he didn't immediately walk despite nicking the ball to Baistow.
Labuschagne explained the first incident in his press conference after play, saying: "If you look at the ball once, you can pretty much tell straight away what it's going to do. I looked at the ball and I was like, 'well, this is going to swing'.
"They were obviously not very happy with (me doing) that. It's just being meticulous. I mean, it was pretty common sense. Like, why would I not want to have a look at the ball?"
As for Labuschagne's decision not to walk, which forced England to use a DRS review, commentator Rob Stanton wrote on Twitter: “How has Labuschagne not walked there. Poor”. Fellow commentator Rob Oldfield commented: “They’ll never walk unless umpire raises the finger.... same old Aussies”.
Aussies on top after England collapse in fifth Test
Labuschagne was extremely watchful as he reached two off 23 balls at stumps on Thursday. The Aussies finished at 1-61 after bowling England out for just 283, with Usman Khawaja unbeaten on 26 after David Warner had been dismissed for 24.
Mitchell Starc defied a troubling shoulder injury to spark an English collapse, taking 4-82 as the Poms lost their last seven wickets for 99. England made a promising start to be 0-62 and 3-184, but fell in a heap after Starc returned to the field following some treatment.
Harry Brook made 85, cashing in after a dropped catch from Alex Carey on five. But he became Starc's second wicket of the innings after the Aussie quick dismissed Ben Stokes with a brilliant delivery that smashed his off stump out of the ground.
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