Did you see… Marnus Labuschagne score a run?

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2 minute read

It’s quite possible you didn’t. He only scored nine of them in 82 balls after all.

You have options in Test cricket. You can choose how you go about things. We would argue that England’s hare approach to batting at the minute is actually a lot more interesting for being pitted against Australia’s tortoise method. Contrast is important. Even the three founders of Freebass made sure they used different parts of the fretboard.

If both teams take the helter skelter shotmaking route, the game becomes hare v hare, best hare wins. That to us is less of a thing than an inter-species race which allows you to compare methodology as well as ability. Who cares which hare’s faster. Show us some different animals!

So it was that Australia – whether deliberately or because of some sort of inactivity virus sweeping through the camp – set about putting overs into the English bowlers’ legs.

Earlier this series, Mark Butcher made a comment about how many wickets Stuart Broad had “in his legs”. Up until this point we had no idea a bowler’s legs also contained wickets. We had always understood them to be purely receptacles for overs. Given the absence of Moeen Ali and the age and records of the various members of England’s attack, Australia’s method made sense. There simply can’t be much room for many more overs in those English seamers’ legs.

So it was that Marnus Labuschagne batted like a delivery sponge, passively absorbing ball after ball, looking for all the world like a man who didn’t know where he was or why.

If anything, it brought to mind one of those late era freediving MS Dhoni innings where he’d take a one-day innings ever deeper but never actually feel moved to make an attempt to surface again.

There was the time he stalked England and never actually pounced. There was the time he stood around and watched his batting partners beat Australia without ever quite feeling moved to step in and help. And there was the time he forgot to blink when the required run rate got away from him against New Zealand in the World Cup.

Marnus blinked when Stuart Broad swapped his bails round, edging the next delivery to where Joe Root’s hand would somehow eventually be.

Further reading: Is Stuart Broad the most annoying cricketer there’s ever been?


  1. This might be unfair, but to my mind there’s something irritatingly unpleasant about Marnus Labuschagne.

    It seemed to me that he strode off, after that supreme effort of scoring his nine runs a rate of under two thirds of a run every three overs, complaining to the umpires that it was “too dark”.

    Let’s be clear about this, the light was consistently poor (although acceptable) throughout the England innings, during which England were able to score their runs at five-and-a-sixth runs per over, averaging 28.3 runs per wicket. The light was no poorer during the Aussie innings.

    “What a moany-groany he is”, was Daisy’s take on Marnus’s reaction. I found it hard to disagree.

    But perhaps Labuschagne wasn’t complaining about the light. Did Labuschagne perceive necromancy in Stuart Broad’s switching of the bails ahead of that dismissal?

    Is Stuart Broad privy to the secrets of the darkest arts? Is bail switching among those dark arts? This is all getting seriously dark.

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