Debate erupts over Marnus Labuschagne's 'selfless' move in run-out
Marnus Labuschagne sacrificed his wicket for the under-pressure David Warner on day two of the Boxing Day Test.
Everything can change in a single moment in Test cricket - as David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne have proven on day two of the Boxing Day Test. Debate has erupted among fans after a mix-up between the pair lead to Labuschagne being run-out for 14 early in Australia's first innings.
Labuschagne had barely beaten the ball to the stumps after a quick single, when Warner called him through for a second run on an overthrow. But Labuschagne had gone well past his crease in order to make the first run, and Warner had already committed to the second.
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In what ABC cricket commentator Kerry O'Keeffe described as a 'selfless' act, Labuschagne attempted to make it back, only for South African bowler Anrich Nortje to successfully complete the run-out. Warner, who has been under pressure to retain his place in the Test side, brought up his half-century a short time later in his 100th Test match.
The play sparked a massive debate online, with some arguing Labuschagne hadn't been paying enough attention, while others believed Warner was being entirely too ambitious by calling for the second run. It comes after South African captain Dean Elgar's run-out in their first innings sparked a middle-order collapse on day one.
"The most selfless thing we've seen in a long time," O'Keeffe said of Labuschagne's efforts to keep Warner at the crease. The opening batsman has not scored a Test century since January 2020, and entered the Boxing Day Test under pressure to keep is place in the side after notching 100 Test appearance for Australia.
"Marnus saw out of the corner of his eye how committed David was, and David thought about turning back and going to the danger end, yet Marnus said 'no, I'll go', despite the plight being completely gone for him."
#AUSvSA marnus mentally switched off when he ran through after the run. Should have been looking for every possible run. If he had kept his head in the game and answered Warner’s call he would have made it easily. Nothing to do with whether you like Warner or not
— Stephen Mumford (@mumford7) December 27, 2022
Yikes.. just saw the run out
Marnus backed up too far but Warner really threw him under the bus there. Owes Marnus a ton up today#AUSvSA
— Arj Giese (@ArjGiesePhotos) December 27, 2022
For me blame from both. Warner not aware where Marnus was, and Marnus over running the runway by so much. Unfortunately just one of things. Huge tick for Marnus sacrificing himself for Warner on 57
— Looch (@SpallieraL) December 27, 2022
Marnus should have said no straight away but couldn’t say it was his fault
— James L (@JamesLowrie24) December 27, 2022
Both. Warner not aware of Marnus over running , and Marnus over running the 1st run. Warner made it to the other end very easily . Sometimes mistakes happen
— Looch (@SpallieraL) December 27, 2022
Warner should not have gone for the extra run. When your partner has over run the crease it is their call at that point. Marnus just reacted. Perhaps if he didn’t second guess and stop he may have made it home but… should not have been put in that situation by Warner.
— Nicolas Devereaux (@Ohurrobombers) December 27, 2022
Former South African bowler Shaun Pollock said the wicket was a gift for the visitors. "It's a real bonus wicket this, for South Africa," he commented. "Warner's running between the wickets is absolutely brilliant, with the intensity that he brings - but you have to everyone in the team on the same wavelength when they're running with him."
Australia's innings has been slowly building, despite losing opener Usman Khawaja for just one run late on the first day of the Test. Standout bowling from the likes of Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc saw the hosts take full advantage of captain Pat Cummins' decision to send the Proteas in to bat first.
Australia in control of Boxing Day Test despite awkward run-out
Green's efforts with the ball on day one, claiming his first five-wicket haul in his Test career, set the hosts up for a big first innings. After removing first drop batsman Theunis de Bruyn before lunch, Green was able to disrupt the century partnership between Kyle Verreynne (59) and Marco Jansen (52).
He claimed the wickets of both of South Africa's top scorers, before cleaning up the tail to prove the Mumbai Indians' $3 million bid on him in the recent IPL auction would be money well spent. After taking 4-7 in devastating final two-over spell, Green said it was nice to show what he was capable of with the spotlight on him. “That’s cricket summed up,” he said.
“You can have a really slow start to the summer and think cricket’s so tough and then you have a few days like this, and it brings you back. It’s probably still hasn’t sunk in now. It’s a very special feeling, and I’m sure I’ll remember that for a very long time.”
Green also earned begrudging praise for his efforts from South African batsman Verreynne. He said Green ability to extract extra pace and bounce when he joins the attack was something that could easily catch many batsman unaware.
"He’s a bit different to the other three guys,” Verreynne said at stumps. “Obviously he’s so tall, so he gets quite a bit of bounce … and I felt like he’s got the ability to shape the ball as well.
“He offers a bit extra there … they get to use him in short bursts, so he can just run in with a lot of energy, and as a batter, you’ve got to make sure that you’re switched on for those periods. It’s a luxury that they have.”
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