Never-before-seen rule saves Australia in dramatic finish to second Test

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.

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 finished 6-154 after being set a target of 267.

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Vice-captains Head and Pat Cummins soaked up immense pressure, surviving almost half an hour in fading light to ensure Australia take a 1-0 series lead to Leeds.

Head's unbeaten 42 from 90 deliveries was a crucial piece of the stonewall, while England were left to lament a simple slips catch that out-of-form opener Jason Roy dropped when Head was on 22.

Marnus Labuschagne, pictured here during the second Ashes Test. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Marnus Labuschagne was the unlikely hero. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

There was no shortage of tension at the home of cricket, where Jofra Archer threatened to bounce England to victory on debut but was then denied two final overs because of bad light.

Joe Root claimed a low catch to dismiss Labuschagne, with former England captain Michael Vaughan among those suggesting the third umpire's verdict was wrong.

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.

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.

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.

Marnus Labushagne, pictured here after his brilliant innings. Image: Getty
Struck on the helmet early, Marnus Labushagne made a brilliant 50. Image: Getty

Steve Smith in huge doubt

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.