Stuart Broad helps get Marnus Labuschagne out as the England bowler swaps Aussie’s bails before the No 3 is caught behind the very next ball
Stuart Broad appeared to get in the head of Marnus Labuschagne by deploying mischievous tactics just before the Australian got out at the Oval on Day Two of the final Ashes Test.
The England pace bowler brought up his 150th Ashes wicket to become England’s record-leading wicket-taker in the competition by trapping Usman Khawaja, but played a big part in Labuschagne’s dismissal as well.
Joe Root took the credit with a sensational one-handed catch in the slips to send the Australian walking on just nine runs after facing 82 balls, but Broad was involved in mind games just seconds before.
The England seam bowler approached the stumps as Labuschagne failed to run a single and swapped the bails over in an effort to unnerve the Australian.
Labuschagne initially found Broad’s antics comical as he smiled back down the wicket at his batting partner, but wasn’t grinning as he edged behind on the next delivery.
Stuart Broad (right) deployed mind games in a bid to unnerve Australia on Day Two at the Oval
Broad swapped the bails before Labuschagne (not pictured) was caught behind off the next ball
Broad ran up to Labuschagne as he was walking off the pitch and appeared to try and joke with the departed batsman who wasn’t in the mood to stick around.
The Australian then moaned at the umpire as he trundled off the pitch and England players led on-field celebrations after breaking through the tourists top order.
Labuschagne will feel that Broad shouldn’t have been allowed to approach the wicket mid-over but didn’t complain at the time and only became physically unhappy once the ball nestled in Root’s hand behind the stumps.
First impressions were that Broad was thanking Labuschagne for not taking the single run that would have put Khawaja on strike, before replays showed the real reason for his delight.
Matters were made worse for Australia as Labuschagne’s wicket kick-started a run of quick dismissals in the period that followed after lunch.
Travis Head went for just four runs, Mitchell Marsh was dismissed for on 16 after being bowled by Anderson and Alex Carey faced only 23 balls.
England fans reacting on social media offered little consolation to Labuschagne in the immediate aftermath and drew comparisons to Alex Carey’s unsavoury stumping of Jonny Bairstow at Lord’s.
One commenter wrote: ‘What goes around comes around. Nice one Mr Broad.’
Another added: ‘Now, where is the spirit of the game?’
A third questioned Broad’s actions, stating: ‘Stuart Broad…poor sportsmanship and very hypocritical.’