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Lucknow: Leading batsman Marnus Labuschagne expects that Australia will ask the ICC to clarify two DRS decisions against teammates Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis that compounded further a heavy defeat from South Africa in their World Cup match on Thursday night.
South Africa made late and seeming speculative referrals after Smith was given not out lbw to seamer Kagiso Rabada, and after Stoinis was declared not out to a leg-side wicketkeeper’s catch, also from Rabada.
Marnus Labuschagne and Marcus Stoinis speak with South Africa’s Temba Bavuma and match umpires Richard Illingworth and Joel Wilson after being dismissed from a review.Credit: Getty Images
To the naked eye, the ball to Smith appeared to be veering to leg. And when Stoinis tried to glance Rabada, a blurry replay seemed to show the ball had brushed a glove that was not holding the bat handle, which would be not out.
But third umpire Richard Kettleborough overturned both, stunning the Australia pair and seemingly taking even the South Africans by happy surprise.
“It was certainly confusing and I’m sure we’ll seek clarity,” said Labuschagne. “It’s a World Cup. We don’t want small decisions that can be avoided to change the outcome of the game. In our situation, it’s hard to say it was going to change the outcome, but for the future, you certainly want to make sure we get them right.”
Australia’s situation is that at Stoinis’s dismissal, Australia were 6/70 chasing 312 to win and the game was up. Labuschagne persevered to top score with 44, but its only effect was to reduce the effect of this defeat on Australia’s net run rate.
Labuschagne said that when onfield umpire Joel Wilson gave Smith not out, he congratulated him on the decision.
“From front on, it looked like it was going down leg straight away. I said to Steve, ‘I don’t think it’s close’. I felt like the angle was pushing down leg.
“It looked like it must have hit him on the leg and then almost straightened onto the stumps. It wasn’t what it looked out there, but I can’t argue with technology – or not right now.”
As for Stoinis, Labuschagne said: “It looked to me like his hand was off the bat [when] it hit the glove. It looked like there was clear daylight between the two gloves and the handle.” He and Stoinis asked umpire Wilson if Kettleborough had checked the side-on vision. He had.
Labuschagne said the pitch, which had been benign when South Africa batted in the afternoon, had perked up under the floodlights in the evening.
“We’ve faced two polar opposite extremes: heavy spin conditions against two of the best spinners India’s ever produced, and then here, against the seaming swinging ball against a team that’s very good in those conditions,” he said.
“It certainly felt like conditions were nipping around, it was quite [a] steep bounce out there. And we probably saw right at the back end there that the dew really came in. It probably played a part, but we didn’t have any batters left. We just lost too many wickets early.”
Australia has also been uncharacteristically sloppy on the field, in this match missing six chances and half-chances. It’s been a long year, but Labuschagne refused to use weariness as an alibi.
“We certainly have played a lot of cricket, but I’m not here to make excuses,” he said “We’re playing the World Cup for Australia. We have to be ready. We have to be better than that. We’re one of the best fielding sides in the world, we pride ourselves on that, and we just didn’t seem to get it right today.”
“People are down, but we also know we’ve got a job. The reality is you can’t sit and sook in the change room. We’ve got to take action. We’ve got to get our tournament under way. In three days time, we’ve got Sri Lanka here.”
“The reason Australia have won the World Cup five times is that we play well under pressure. We haven’t started well, but this is the beginning, not the end.”
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