Marnus Labuschagne dismissed by Lawrence Neil-Smith in Sheffield Shield clash between Queensland and Tasmania
Marnus Labuschagne looked in fine form until a Taswegian youngster stepped up to the crease and put his innings to an end.
Test star Marnus Labuschagne has been humbled by Taswegian rookie Lawrence Neil-Smith, almost 24 hours after he was denied the youngster’s wicket.
Playing first-class cricket for the first time since July, Labuschagne looked in rare touch with the bat, as Queensland began to chase down Tasmania’s mighty total.
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Labuschagne was integral in the Bulls’ 20/21 Sheffield Shield title win and picked up exactly where he left off, taking full advantage of the flat wicket and fast outfield at Adelaide’s Karen Rolton Oval to belt five boundaries off 28 balls.
Four of those five came off deliveries from Peter Siddle, in what was a less than ideal start to the former Test star’s Sheffield Shield campaign.
As his innings built up steam, Labuschagne could hardly have expected to be thwarted by a 22-year-old playing in just his seventh first-class match.
But a pearler of a delivery from the youngster caught Labuschagne’s bottom edge, leaving the ball to bounce up and onto the bails. With Labuschagne on 32, Neil-Smith took a wicket he will remember forever.
Adding insult to injury for Labuschagne was the fact the Test weapon very nearly claimed Neil-Smith’s wicket in Tasmania’s innings at the crease.
On day one, Labuschagne was so sure his delivery had struck Neil-Smith’s pad before the wicket, he celebrated the dismissal without appealing to the umpire, who was having none of it.
By stumps on day two, the reigning premiers had lost Labuschagne and another Test star in Joe Burns with 122 runs to show for it.
“To get two pretty big wickets in Joe and Marnus is hopefully really going to help us going into tomorrow, where we can potentially be a bit drier with the ball and see if we can get some reverse swing,” said Tasmania’s Jordan Silk.
“We’ve just got to scrap our way all day tomorrow.”
The stage was set for Usman Khawaja to steer the ship and reaffirm his own Test credentials.
Khawaja was dropped from the Aussie side in September 2019, midway through the last Ashes. He hasn’t donned the baggy green since.
The batter-friendly wicket will help Khawaja’s chances — in Tasmania’s innings, Silk and Tim Ward, playing just his second first class match, each bagged a century.
“Our top order laid a really good platform for me to go out there and play the way I want to play,” Silk said.
“(That was) really pleasing.”
If the Queenslanders are any hope of chasing down Tasmania’s total of 500, Khawaja will want to be the eighth man to hit triple figures at Karen Rolton Oval since the Sheffield Shield began late last month.
At stumps, he’d managed 12 runs, while opener Bryce Street was unbeaten on 49.