After being introduced into the Test on its fifth day as Steve Smith’s concussion replacement, Marnus Labuschagne found himself on the receiving end of an Archer bouncer.
Labuschagne, who became the first concussion substitute in the history of Test cricket, was hit flush on the grill on his second ball at the crease. The initial blow saw him hit the deck but Labuschagne was able to bounce back on his feet within seconds.
Speaking at the end of the day, Labuschagne talked through his thought process in the moments immediately after the blow. He said: “You kind of just want to stay calm and make sure you answer his questions properly.
A truly extraordinary innings from Marnus Labuschagne.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) August 18, 2019
“I was like, ‘I know where I am; I’m good, I’m good, just get off the field’, but there’s a process now. There is no way I wanted to get off the field. I wanted to stay in the contest. Getting to play at Lord’s is a pretty great experience.”
Coming in with Australia on 19-2 trying to bat out the day to save the Test, Labuschagne recovered to hit 59, his second Test match half-century to help Australia finish the day with four wickets remaining and preserve their 1-0 series lead.
While Smith was taken off the field after blow to the neck from Archer on the previous day and was later ruled out of the Test, Labuschagne says he felt fine in the aftermath of being hit. “In my case, I was lucky enough. I was feeling fine – I just jumped the gun a bit on the questions,” he said.
“I was like, ‘Look, I know where I am; I know what Test it is; I’m on zero, and it was a fast bouncer’. You just want to make sure you’re ready, that you listen to and follow their instructions – [that] is the key. Ninety-eight percent of the time they’re going to make great decisions and, if you have to come off, it’s obviously because you’re not all right.”
The third Test of the series begins on Friday at Headingley.