Labuschagne asks for cigarette lighter while batting during Australia vs SA Test

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Australia star Marnus Labuschagne asked for a cigarette lighter to be brought to him while he was batting (Image: Twitter/@cricketcomau)
Australia star Marnus Labuschagne asked for a cigarette lighter to be brought to him while he was batting (Image: Twitter/@cricketcomau)

There was a bizarre moment on day one of the third and final Test between Australia and South Africa when Marnus Labuschagne called for a cigarette lighter to be brought to him while he was at the crease.

During a break in play, Labuschagne could be seen miming a lighter and smoking while also pointing to his helmet. The 28-year-old is not a smoker and it turned out he wanted the lighter to burn some of the material on his helmet.

"I presume he didn't want a quick dart in the break," joked Fox Sports commentator Mark Howard. "He must be trying to burn something off the top of the helmet, I presume that's what he's doing."

"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'm not sure," said former Australia batter Michael Hussey.

Ex-Australia spinner Kerry O'Keeffe added: "I played with Doug Walters and he'd signal for cigarettes. That was the most remarkable signal I've seen in world cricket for a cigarette lighter for a non-smoker."

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Labuschagne is currently the number one ranked batter in Test cricket and he scored 79 off 151 balls before getting caught behind off Anrich Nortje to the final ball of day one. However, he was the subject of controversy earlier in the day when he was given not out by the third umpire.

South Africa were adamant an edge from Labuschagne had carried cleanly to Simon Harmer at first slip and on-field umpire Paul Reiffel gave a 'soft signal' of out before sending it upstairs to third umpire Richard Kettlebrough. However, after much deliberation, 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, think 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'm 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."

Matthew Cooper

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation