Australians furious over Stuart Broad mind game before Marnus Labuschagne’s dismissal

Stuart Broad rearranges Marnus Labuschagne's bails moments before Mark Wood dismissed the Australian batsman - Ashes 2023: The Stuart Broad mind game that led to Marnus Labuschagne’s dismissal in fifth Test

Stuart Broad rearranges Marnus Labuschagne’s bails moments before Mark Wood dismissed the Australian batsman – Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

Marnus Labuschagne was furious after his dismissal in the fifth Ashes Test thanks to an unusual move executed by Stuart Broad.

While it was Mark Wood who dismissed Labuschagne, courtesy of a phenomenal catch from Joe Root diving to his left at first slip, Broad will take a share of the credit too.

The ball before Labuschagne edged Wood, Broad, in a surprise move, came up to the stumps and switched the batsman’s bails around – moving the left bail to the right-hand side, and the right bail to the left-hand side.

Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja laughed off the odd move after it happened, but those smiles soon disappeared with the wicket falling the very next ball.

As he walked off after being dismissed for nine from 82 balls, Labuschagne could be seen shaking his head and muttering in frustration at himself and what appeared to be towards the umpire. Broad was engulfed by his team-mates, who seemed to give him some credit for unsettling the Australian.

Broad later admitted that he had been winding Labuschagne up by randomly walking over to swap his bails round in the morning session.

‌“Now I’d heard changing the bails is an Aussie thing to attempt to change luck,” said Broad. “I’ve currently not had this confirmed by any Aussie – have I made that up?!”

Broad has developed a reputation for his antics on the field, including celebrating rather than appealing for his wickets and whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

Labuschagne looked unimpressed by Broad's antics - Ashes 2023: The Stuart Broad mind game that led to Marnus Labuschagne’s dismissal in fifth Test

Labuschagne looked unimpressed by Broad’s antics after his dismissal… – Twitter

Stuart Broad - Ashes 2023: The Stuart Broad mind game that led to Marnus Labuschagne’s dismissal in fifth Test

… Broad, meanwhile, looked rather satisfied – Twitter

Stuart Broad and Usman Khawaja - Ashes 2023: The Stuart Broad mind game that led to Marnus Labuschagne’s dismissal in fifth Test

Broad also enjoyed the moment with Labuschagne’s batting partner Usman Khawaja

McGrath slams Broad for touching bails

His latest mind game did not go down well with Australian great Glenn McGrath.

“Players shouldn’t be coming in and playing with the bails,” former fast bowler McGrath said on commentary on BBC Test Match Special.

Labuschagne, who scored a fine century at Old Trafford to help Australia retain the urn – with the assistance of rain over the final two days – scarcely attempted an attacking shot during his vigil at the crease, scoring at a funeral strike rate of 11.

Before the series, Broad announced that he had developed a new outswinger to combat Labuschagne and Steve Smith.

At Edgbaston, in the first Test of the series, Broad removed Labuschagne first ball with his new outswinger. He also dismissed Labuschagne in the second innings of the first Test. Labuschagne has fought back against Broad since, and has so far scored 93 runs against him in the 2023 Ashes.

Forget Anderson, Broad is the bowler England most need to go on

By Tim Wigmore, Deputy Cricket Correspondent, at the Oval

Perhaps the best sense of Stuart Broad’s competitiveness and sheer sense of Ashes mischief this series has come without a ball or bat in hand. Instead, it came when, on a sepulchral morning at The Oval, he ran into the stumps and switched Marnus Labuschagne’s bails around – moving the left bail to the right-hand side, and the right bail to the left.

‌Ostensibly, there was no point to this act, no competitive advantage. Broad, of course, had a different view: he saw a way to prick the bubble that Labuschagne had constructed around his wicket. The very next ball, Mark Wood induced Labuschagne to edge behind, where Joe Root dived to his left to take an outstanding slip catch.

Broad had not been involved in any of these actions. But, to see Labuschagne chuntering as he walked off, Broad engulfed by his team-mates and then rushing up to Usman Khawaja, was to believe that Broad had contributed to the wicket too. Whether all such notions are absurd is not really the point; Broad has a way of persuading opponents, his own side and fans alike that it is so.

“I’ve heard – and I might have made this up – that it’s like an Aussie change of luck thing,” Broad explained. “We needed to make a breakthrough and I thought I’d have a little change of the bails. Marnus is someone who would notice everything so he took notice of it and I thought Uzzy said something to him like ‘I’ve seen someone do that before’. And it just worked out pretty magically.”

Yet in many ways, Broad’s most remarkable act on the second day at the Oval was simply to be there at all. Before the summer, Broad declared himself to be “happy playing one Test” in the series. Instead, Broad stands as the sole English seamer – and only the second in the series, alongside Pat Cummins – to play in them all. No man has bettered Broad’s 20 wickets.

The story of England’s home Ashes series’ after 2005 is, in essence, the tale of Broad. Uniquely, he has played every single home Ashes Test since the start of 2009.

At this same ground, Broad announced his transformation into a Test bowler of substance 14 years ago. Deployed as third change, Broad produced a golden spell to go with his golden locks: 5-37 from the Vauxhall End, effectively sealing the fate of the urn.

Stuart Broad - Australians furious over Stuart Broad mind game before Marnus Labuschagne’s dismissal

A fresh-faced Stuart Broad took five wickets at the Oval in the final test of the 2009 Ashes Series – AFP/Ian Kington

Such spells instantly entrench themselves in Ashes legend: once-in-a-lifetime performances, they are acclaimed. Not to Broad. England’s series victory in 2013 was clinched by his six for 50 at Chester-le-Street; the urn was regained in 2015 after a spell of eight for 15 that left Broad covering his mouth in disbelief. So did we. If there was no urn for England to toast in 2019, a 2-2 draw – underpinned by Broad dismissing David Warner seven times – made for ample consolation.

And so, with England once again needing an Oval victory to wrest a series draw, they reasoned that they could not do without Broad. It was a judgement in defiance of his 37 years, and the brutal demands of five Test matches crammed into 46 days, but in keeping with the qualities that Broad has shown all summer long.

Only one previous English summer since 2005 has offered pace bowlers less seam movement. But unconducive pitches have allowed Broad to show his creativity and skill.

With the ball over 50 overs old, after lunch Broad was summoned to bowl from the Vauxhall End. Under cloudy skies, he needed just four balls to shape a ball into Khawaja – roaring off in delight, as is his trademark, well before the umpire’s finger had been raised. In his following over, Broad extracted an iota of seam movement away from Travis Head to compel him to edge behind: his fourth dismissal of Head this series, at a cost of just 14 runs apiece.

It encapsulated how, for all his continued new ball excellence, Broad’s greatest worth to England under Stokes has been his penchant for breaking partnerships with the older ball. Since May last year, he has taken 24 wickets at 29 apiece when the ball is between 31 and 80 overs old, the most of any seamer in the world.

It is a testament to Broad’s embrace of the demands of the era’s new priorities: his economy rate has gone up 0.5 an over under Stokes, but he needs 10 balls fewer to take each wicket. When the conditions demand, as they did after lunch at the Oval, Broad has happily bowled a fuller length. But he is also bowling bouncers more often this English summer than any previous year.

Broad’s new outswinger, which he revved up in the manner that Shane Warne once did his variations, has made him a more complete bowler. Yet the most successful tweak to Broad’s craft remains the one he perfected in time for the 2019 Ashes, becoming adept at bowling around the wicket to left-handers: southpaws average just 20 against Broad this series, while right-handers average 40.

So much for a career winding down; amid the concerns about James Anderson, and Ollie Robinson’s underwhelming series, Broad’s importance to England is only heightening. His last 200 wickets, stretching back to March 2018, have only cost 24; his last 50, in the last year, just 23. All of 33,454 deliveries into his Test career, the sense remains that Broad has more to give.

You might also like...