Joe Root has drawn the ire of Aussie cricket fans after claiming a controversial catch late on day five in a thrilling Ashes Test at Lord’s.
Super-sub Marnus Labuschagne entered Lord's as trivia-night fodder but left as part of Ashes folklore, doing the heavy lifting alongside Travis Head as Australia salvaged a dramatic draw in the absence of Steve Smith.
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Concussion substitute Labuschagne, who replaced Smith in the XI on Sunday morning, scored 59 from 100 balls as the tourists batted out 47.3 overs on day five of the second Test, Australia finishing 6-154 after being set a target of 267.
However his dismissal sparked major uproar.
Root claimed a low catch to dismiss Labuschagne, with former England captain Michael Vaughan among those suggesting the third umpire's verdict was wrong.
Despite replays appearing to show the ball touching the grass before it entered Root’s hands, third umpire Joel Wilson upheld the on-field verdict of out.
Root and Labuschagne exchanged words after the wicket at 6.38pm local time, with the former holding up his finger to signal out and the latter shaking his head as he trudged off.
West Indies legend Michael Holding questioned the decision in commentary.
“I just don’t think he caught it,” Holding said.
After play, Root said he was 100 per cent sure he caught it, hitting back at some claims from fans that he’d fibbed because of the importance of the situation.
"I said that I caught it. You could feel your fingers underneath the ball," he said.
"You can look at slow-mos and they always look worse than they are.
"As a fielder you know if your fingers are underneath the ball, (I) clearly felt that was the case.
"I'm an honest guy, I'm not going to try and cheat the game regardless of the situation and it's quite disappointing when it's slowed down and people start questioning your integrity.
"We play the game in a certain way and that's the right way."
However a number of fans and commentators weren’t convinced, with Vaughan tweeting: “That was NOT OUT!”
That was NOT OUT !!— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) August 18, 2019
What a cheat, Root knows he didn't take that catch! It's a totally different feeling, fair catch crushes your fingers down into the ground, that clearly bounced and you feel the ball rise into your hands.... scumbag!!! #Ashes19— Martin Hodgson (@MartinGHodgson) August 18, 2019
Joe Root is what you English fans like to call . “ A Cheat “ pic.twitter.com/79p8ebOs2j— Gary Holmes (@Holmezee) August 18, 2019
Absolute howler and poor from Root.— Steve Noble (@916_stevo) August 18, 2019
Not Out - not a very Captainly way to conduct yourself— Messiah17 (@Messiah_17) August 18, 2019
Appealing is one thing . Then leave it in the umpires hands . The photo of Root then putting his finger up after the initial catch is claiming that he caught it in the view to influence the umpire. pic.twitter.com/owe0mNBtZ3— Gary Holmes (@Holmezee) August 18, 2019
“I just don’t think he caught it” an honest @MHolding153 on air addressing the Root catch. Thanks for people like Michael who speak the truth as they see it.#yeswekane #sharethetrophy #ashes #therootcatch #CWC19Final pic.twitter.com/F6Z9vHP2pQ— No Boundaries (@CWC19Winner) August 18, 2019
Marcus. Was a clear not out catch yet root appeals and the soft signal is out and the umpiring has been so sub standard even the third umpire gives it. Shocking!— Rishabh Bhargava (@Engineereed) August 18, 2019
That was never a catch by Root. The ball clearly bounced off the ground. Need higher frame rate cameras for this sort of thing. #Ashes2019— Dave Marston (@dave_marston) August 18, 2019
Aussies hold on for dramatic draw
Left-arm spinner Jack Leach removed Labuschagne and Matthew Wade with consecutive balls to give England a sniff, while Tim Paine departed after Joe Denly plucked a one-handed screamer.
Jofra Archer made life hell for batsmen for a second day straight and the contest continued to ebb and flow as Leach attacked the rough from the Nursery End.
However, England ran out of time and the rivals battled to their first draw at Lord's since 1997.
The five-Test series continues on Thursday, when Smith is fully expected to be an enforced omission because of the frightening bouncer blow to the neck that Archer inflicted on Saturday.
The International Cricket Council introduced concussion subs at the highest level at the start of this Ashes.
That law came into action when Smith woke up with a delayed concussion and was withdrawn from the contest.
Rules dictate the substitute must be a like-for-like replacement, prompting the obvious joke that Don Bradman would be the only viable option for the visitors.
But Labuschagne, on Ashes debut and clattered on the grille by a nasty bouncer from Archer early on, stood up in Australia's hour of need.
The first delivery faced by Labuschagne, summoned to the middle after Archer blasted out David Warner and Usman Khawaja to reduce Australia to 2-19, was called wide as a bumper flew over his head.
The next ball reared up and struck him on the helmet, prompting Australia's team doctor Richard Saw to rush out and assess his jaw and cognitive state.
England declared midway through Sunday's post-lunch session at 5-257, thanks largely to man of the match Ben Stokes' 115 not out.