Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Starc enjoyed an engaging one-on-one battle in the Sheffield Shield in a spicy precursor to the Australian summer of cricket.
Sent in to bat on a very green wicket at Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide, Queensland’s Labuschagne had it all do after the likes of Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja and Matthew Renshaw were all dismissed cheaply.
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Starc was seeing red for the Blues and was clearly keen to get the biggest possible advantage from NSW’s early wickets - eventually resorting to some intense tactics to claim the wicket of his Test teammate.
At one stage he struck Labuschagne on the arm with a vicious, rising delivery and he also reminded his Test teammate to stay in his crease while at the non-striker's end.
"I think we were both just getting the blood going," said Labuschagne, adding there was no ill-will from either incident.
"I was a little bit out of my crease there and we had a little bit of a chat to each other and I was pretty much sitting back waiting for the short ball."
Starc’s warning to Labuschagne follows another recent example of the bowler warning the non-striker to remain in their crease, after Indian bowler Ravi Ashwin warned a rival during the IPL recently.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) October 30, 2020
“What’s happened here,” the Sheffield Shield commentator said after Starc pulled up his run.
“He’s actually pointed to Marnus Labuschagne and said ‘hey, don’t back up too soon’.
“Just needing something to get him a little bit fired up here.”
Marnus Labuschagne not concerned by Mitchell Starc rivalry
The friendly rivalry was of no concern to Labuschagne, who eventually gutted out an impressive 117 - although it could have been more had he not been dismissed by Trent Copeland.
The classy No.3 smacked 16 boundaries and enjoyed a 136-run partnership with Jimmy Peirson (66), who became Starc's second wicket when caught behind by Peter Nevill.
Labuschagne was eventually out lbw to Copeland (2-44) as the Blues picked up three late wickets to see out the day.
Showing just how insatiable he is for runs, Labuschagne said he was extremely frustrated to get out in the last over.
"Today was the sort of situation where the team needed someone that got in to go really big and I'm really disappointed that it wasn't me today," he said.
Test tweaker Nathan Lyon toiled for 15 overs on Friday and finished with the figures of 0-62.
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