'... Eyes between balls': Why Marnus Labuschagne dozed off while Australia were batting against India at the WTC final
Former Australia head coach Justin Langer, who was part of the commentary box, opined that the the Indian crowd was Labuschagne's alarm.
It was a long day indeed for Australia. Where the aim was probably to restrict India well below the follow-on mark of 270 having dismissed overnight batter KS Bharat in just the first over of Day 3, Australia were left frustrated by a resilient century stand between Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur amid that no ball from Pat Cummins which should have dismissed the former who later went on to score 89 runs. Having eventually gained a healthy 173-run lead, Australia were still leading the game and Marnus Labuschagne had full faith on the openers - David Warner and Usman Khawaja - to add to India woes. Probably that is why he decided to doze off, only to be rudely awoken by a dismissal. He later revealed why he took a brief nap during Australia's second innings.
It was probably the shortest nap ever. And the cameraman actually managed to get the entire episode. In the happened in the third over of the second innings of Australia. Labuschagne took at look at the scoreboard and then dozed off. And then was suddenly awoken by a loud cheer from the Indian fans. Mohammed Siraj had struck early to dismiss Warner as Australia went one down for just two runs and Labuschagne was up on his feet hurrying with his gloves and pads.
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“I was just resting my eyes between balls and just relaxing,” Labuschagne told SEN Cricket after the day's play.
“I was trying to calm my nerves a little bit, you can’t watch the game all the time, I got up there and was awake pretty soon.
“I didn’t have too many rests there when Siraj banged that first one in.”
As the Australia No.3 took guard, the commentators were left in splits watching the replay of that episode that probably went on for the entire day, and is sure to make the highlight reels for the WTC final.
“Marnus Labuschagne at No.3, that is one of the more extraordinary arrivals to the crease that you will see," Harsha Bhogle said. "Are you awake, Marnus? Have you brushed your teeth? Have you had a coffee?”
Former Australia head coach Justin Langer, who was part of the commentary box as well, opined that the the Indian crowd was Labuschagne's alarm.
“The appeal of the crowd, there’s the alarm! Oh, I’m up and going. I will brush my teeth, a quick espresso coffee to get me going and now he’s got to face his first ball.”
The star batter eventually ended Day 3 on an unbeaten 41 to keep still keep Australia ahead of the game. The side will resume Day 4 at 123/4 with a lead of 296 runs. He will be accompanied by Cameron Green, batting on 7*.