Marnus the man for the big occasion once more

It was an Ashes moment no-one expected, a bowling bolt from the blue with the fourth Test on the line which proved a turning point to remember.

In the 91st over of England's second innings resistance, Australian captain Tim Paine threw the ball to Marnus Labuschagne as an 82-ball stand between Craig Overton and Jack Leach took the game to a position of tension no-one was enjoying.

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All the fast bowlers had had a go at the pair of resilient tailenders, with a new ball too, as did Nathan Lyon with no effect.

 

Marnus Labuschagne celebrates the wicket of Jack Leach late on day five at old Trafford.
Marnus Labuschagne celebrates the wicket of Jack Leach late on day five at old Trafford.

 

Then five balls in to just his fourth, and final over of the match, the leg-spinner who is less part-time than people think got a ball to bounce on Leach and flick off his bat to Matthew Wade.

The catch ended the defiant stand, the match was over seven balls later.

Paine said he couldn't keep Labuschagne out of the game, a player who wanted the challenge of turning the tide.

 

Labuschagne was in good voice during post-match festivities in Manchester.
Labuschagne was in good voice during post-match festivities in Manchester.

 

"He is one of those cricketers, if you tell a youngish part-time leg spinner to warm up at that part of a Test match I don't think too many would want to bowl. Marnus wanted to bowl," Paine said.

"He wants to bat in the games when the best bowlers are on and even in the field he wants to make a difference all the time."

 

 

Labuschagne's wicket was his 10th in Test cricket, after taking his first in his first match in Dubai last year.

It's a bowling talent that, combined with his breakout 291 runs in a series not many thought he would play in, has ensured he'll become a fixture in Paine's side.

"His energy is great and a really exciting cricketer for us and someone we can build our team around in the future."

"Even from when I captained him in Dubai he has been working on his leg spin bowling. He came on the trip and bowled a lot in the nets and we said "he can bowl".

"He has bowled a lot of overs in county cricket for Glamorgan which has helped him. He is improving all the time."