Marnus Labuschagne hits back amid furore over 'unacceptable' scenes in first Test

The Aussie batter has had his say amid controversy over the pitch that was used against Pakistan at Perth Stadium.

Marnus Labuschagne.
Marnus Labuschagne was one of four Aussie batters struck on the body. Image: Getty

Marnus Labuschagne has defended the pitch used in the first Test between Australia and Pakistan in Perth, declaring it wasn't dangerous despite copping a nasty blow to the finger. Labuschagne was one of four Aussie batters to cop blows to the body, with Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith and Mitch Marsh also struck.

The pitch appeared rather flat and tame on the first day, but came to life and was playing plenty of tricks by the third afternoon. Former Test player Simon O'Donnell said it was "unacceptable" for a ball to be rearing up and hitting Marsh on the helmet on the fourth morning, but Labuschagne has gone in to bat for curators.

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"It was a bit of a brutal end there with the wicket's cracks opening up," the Aussie batter said on Monday. "I mean, no one likes batting when it's like that - up and down, the sharp, steep bounce on a fast wicket.

"That's not your cup of tea for anyone, but you just have to find a way when it's like that. Potentially if that's a day one wicket, there might be a few more questions asked. But I think that's sort of what you what you get coming here (to Perth). So no, I don't think it was was reaching that (dangerous) stage, but certainly it was just one of those tough games that you get here."

Aussie captain Pat Cummins expressed similar sentiments, saying he'd like to see more pitches play like that. "We play on a lot of wickets where it's really flat and you fill your boots as a batter," he said.

"The second innings here for both teams was more difficult than first. But as you saw, there was plenty of runs there if you got out there. It's probably a bit more (activity) than you ideally want on a day four wicket, but there was a lot of cricket before that to set up the game."

Marnus Labuschagne, pictured here after copping a nasty blow to the finger.
Marnus Labuschagne copped a nasty blow to the finger in the first Test against Pakistan. (Photo by COLIN MURTY/AFP via Getty Images)

Simon O'Donnell and Ian Healy slam Perth pitch

Discussing the surface on Monday morning, O'Donnell said on SEN radio: “I’m interested to see what the ICC says. I think that was too worn and too unpredictable for a day four pitch. When you say television cameras honing in on certain areas, I thought, ‘gee whiz, day four and we’ve got that’? I’m not even sure if it was equipped for day five.

“Balls keeping low, I say that’s just mother nature having its way. When balls are dangerous, that’s my problem. I have no problem with a ball lifting out of the norm but not lifting to the extent of one or two feet. When you see a world-class batsman in Mitch Marsh get hit twice on the helmet by a guy bowling 123 kilometres an hour… I don’t think that’s acceptable.”

Aussie legend Ian Healy also said the pitch cracked up "way too early". He said: “Even though it was moist and green on day one they have real trouble keeping that moisture in the pitch then it cracks up way too early, on day three, the Aussies were having trouble, up and down bounce, and hitting the body.

“When you hear batsmen say you need a little bit of luck and take a few on the body and you might get through, that is day five stuff. I think they’ve got to find a way to retain moisture in that pitch it’s a more trustworthy surface.

“I think the Gabba is the most trustworthy surface you can start a season on. It bounces, it seams, it can swing and the spinners can bowl OK on and it and the batsmen make runs on it. I think Perth was a little too volatile for everyone’s liking."

Mitch Marsh.
Mitch Marsh was hit on the helmet as the pitch proved volatile. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Marnus Labuschagne avoids injury after nasty blow

Meanwhile, Labuschagne has declared himself a certain starter for the second Test at the MCG after scans revealed no fracture in his finger. "The finger's fine. There's no break," he said. "It hit me more on the knuckle side and sort of just jammed up my hand.

"I was a bit nervous out there because ... I've had a lot of finger blows but it felt a bit different. It just got me in a bit of an awkward spot. There was no padding on that side of the glove. But I've got some really good range in it, so it's all good."

with AAP

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