Aussie cricket star Marnus Labuschagne has found himself at the centre of a controversial moment with the ball, during his Glamorgan side’s County Championship game in England. The Test batter didn't get a chance to feature with the willow against Durham in Cardiff, but did make his mark with the ball after Glamorgan won the toss and elected to bowl first.
The opening day largely belonged to Durham, who racked up 6-382 as four players made swift half-centuries. However, Labuschagne did impress with his off-spin bowling, taking 2-73 off his 15 overs to try and stem the free-flowing scoring of his Durham opponents.
Labuschagne's breakthrough wicket came in somewhat contentious circumstances though, after he trapped Michael Jones LBW for 69 runs. The Durham opener had attempted an audacious reverse sweep but was caught on the pads, with replays suggesting the ball pitched comfortably outside the batter's off stump.
Jones was perhaps just as shocked as commentators when umpire Tom Lungley raised his finger to give the Durham opener out. When asked if he thought the batter should have been given out in commentary for the match, Durham coach Ryan Campbell's response was emphatic.
“I’m just going to say no,” Campbell said. “That can’t be out. Let’s have a look at the replay, that’s pitching outside leg by half a foot.
"I’m sorry, if you’re bowling off-spin that’s not spinning, that cannot be out. You can show that over and over and over again, you can keep showing it but it’s impossible to be out. The first rule LBW is if it pitches outside leg stump, it cannot be out.”
— Glamorgan Cricket 🏏 (@GlamCricket) April 20, 2023
Jeez, from a few clips I’ve seen last couple of weeks the standard of county championship umpiring is no better than club cricket
— Rob Bee (@RobBeetweets) April 20, 2023
This has just been given out as an LBW, with Labuschagne bowling around the wicket right arm. It cannot possibly be out - hideous decision. The standard of umpiring today has been club level at best. @Martycricket @cambo_19 pic.twitter.com/emsM1K4PgB
— Bradley Robson (@bradrobson2605) April 20, 2023
Wow pitching a foot outside leg and then hitting. NOT OUT
— Gary Thomas (@Abergazza) April 20, 2023
Right arm AROUND leg spin …. No chance … absolute shocker there
— Adrian Pym (@AdrianPym) April 20, 2023
Labuschagne took his second wicket after tea when he removed Durham wicketkeeper Ollie Robinson for 73. The Durham batter seemed less than impressed by the umpire's decision to give him out after suggesting the ball did not come off the edge before being caught by Chris Cooke. Aussie colleague Michael Neser proved economical for Glamorgan after taking 1-55 off 19 overs.
“We thought it might do a little bit more this morning session,” Glamorgan coach Matt Maynard told BBC Sport Wales after his side's decision to bowl first failed to pay off.
“We didn’t get too much out of it though. “Michael Neser on his first day and Timm van der Gugten were exceptional... but throughout the course of the day we didn’t string enough tight overs together.”
Marcus Harris fails after Ashes squad call-up
Elsewhere, Marcus Harris has missed out on the chance to celebrate his Ashes call-up for Australia after falling for just one run off 25 balls in Gloucestershire's clash with Worcestershire. Harris was removed LBW by Joe Leach on a day where 17 wickets fell and Worcestershire ending on 7-118 in response to Gloucestershire's 231.
Harris, who's at the front of the queue alongside Matt Renshaw for an opener's spot should David Warner's Test struggles continue, had begun his county campaign with an impressive century and half-century against Glamorgan at Cardiff last time out. But there seemed little chance of a repeat on a difficult morning at Worcester with the ball seaming around as he fell cheaply.
Tom Price was undoubtedly the star of the day, with the English allrounder smacking a defiant maiden county ton off 93 balls after coming in at No.9. He then took a hat-trick with the ball to put Gloucestershire in a strong position.
At Lord's, where he'll be odds-on to spearhead England's batting in the second Test, Ben Duckett got an early break when one outside edge squeezed between wicketkeeper and first slip but then went on to reach his first three-figure score of the season. Duckett continued smoothly to make an unbeaten 119, guiding Notts to 5-252 in an innings which will delight England captain Ben Stokes.
Another England Ashes certainty James Anderson (2-56) took a couple of early wickets for Lancashire against Somerset, but unbeaten hundreds from captain Tom Abell (119no) and teenager James Rew (114no) ensured it was the home side's day at Taunton. As they finished on 4-311, Australian Cameron Bancroft, who missed out on Ashes selection, was notably absent from the run-gathering after getting caught behind for just seven.
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