The Ashes 2019

Joe Root hits back at critics after controversial catch

Marnus Labuschagne made history as international cricket´s first concussion substitute before his valuable fifty helped Australia draw the second Ashes Test against England at Lord´s on Sunday.

Labuschagne was not confirmed as playing until Sunday morning when Australia star Steve Smith was ruled out with concussion, having been hit by a Jofra Archer bouncer during his 92 on Saturday.

Brought into the Test as international cricket’s first ever concussion substitute, Marnus Labuschagne was welcomed to the game by a Jofra Archer bouncer to the grille on the second ball he faced and exited it after a terse exchange of words with England captain Joe Root.

In between those two instances he helped Australia save the Test, making a fighting 59 off 100 balls after coming out to bat at 2-19.

The most controversial thing to come out of the final day of the drawn Lord’s Test was Joe Root’s contentious “catch”.

The England captain claimed to have taken a diving catch to dismiss Marnus Labuschagne and the video umpire decided not to overturn the decision despite replays seeming to show that it bounced just before Root got his hands under the ball.

Root defends controversial Labuschagne catch. Photo: Getty Images

Labuschagne was adjudged to have been caught cleanly at midwicket by Root after umpire Aleem Dar sent the decision upstairs with a soft signal of out and third umpire Joel Wilson concurred with the original on-field decision.

Front on replays of Root’s catch, which had deflected off the helmet of short leg, showed the ball bouncing up but it was unclear if that was up off his fingers or the grass.

Labuschagne hears it from Bairstow as he is caught. Photo: Getty Images

The side on replay painted a more positive picture for the England captain and one that convinced umpire Wilson the catch had been taken cleanly.

Labuschagne was less convinced, exchanging words with Root on his way off the field. Root hit back at suggestions he had grassed the catch after the match.

“You can feel your fingers underneath the ball. You look at slo-mos and they always look worse than they are,” Root said.

“As a fielder you know if your fingers are under the ball, I clearly felt that was the case. I’m an honest guy, I am not going to try and cheat the game regardless of the situation,” he added.

“It is quite disappointing when it’s slowed down and people start to question your integrity. We play the game in a certain way, and that’s the right way.”

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