Sydney: One of the most weird signals cricket fans witnessed was when a non-smoker Marnus Labuchagne asked for a cigarette lighter while he was at the crease on Day 1 of the third Test here on Wednesday.
During a break in play, Labuschagne was seen miming a lighter and smoking while also pointing to his helmet. When the lighter was taken to him, Labuchagne lit the lighter and burnt some of the material in his helmet.
“Maybe some of the material just on the underside is just fraying a little bit and he might just want to burn that fraying material, I am not sure,” said former Australia batsman Michael Hussey.
Labuschagne scored 79 off 151 balls before getting caught behind off Anrich Nortje to the final ball of the day. However, he was at the centre of a controversy when the third umpire ruled him not out.
South Africa insisted that the catch was cleanly taken by Simon Harmer at first slip and on-field umpire Paul Reiffel gave a soft dismissal before referring to third umpire Richard Kettlebrough.
However, after much references, Kettleborought gave Labuschagne a reprieve with the decision splitting opinion. “All of us thought it was out,” South Africa quick Anrich Nortje said.
“Simon was convinced it was straight. Think if you look at the front-on angles, to us it looks like the fingers are underneath it. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that one, thinking it would have been a big one at that stage. We are convinced it was out.”
Labuschagne, however, said: “With the new footage those are so scrutinised because you see so many angles. Especially that side-on angle, makes it look really bad, then the front-on angle actually looks pretty good.
“If there’s no TV then I am walking, that’s just how the game works. But with the amount of slow-motion footage of the ball, you see his fingers push and split open, according to the technicalities some of the ball is touching the grass, regardless of whether his fingers are under it or not.”