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India v Australia 2022/23

Ashwin ditches run-up, umpire talks to Labuschagne after double pull-out in ‘mind games’ duel

R Ashwin nearly resorted to a two-step run-up after Marnus Labuschagne pulled out twice
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

A mini-battle of wits saw R Ashwin nearly resort to a two-step run-out in an attempt to counter Marnus Labuschagne, who pulled out of his batting stance twice before the same delivery, during the third day of the India-Australia Indore Test.

The day began with Australia requiring 75 runs in the fourth innings, but Labuschagne had to stride out after the third ball itself, with Usman Khawaja being sent back by Ashwin for a two-ball duck. Over the next hour, Labuschagne and Travis Head combined to soothe nerves and push Australia close to the target.

Just before the fifth delivery of the ninth over, Labuschagne pulled out of his stance. Ashwin, looking to rush through, resorted to a two-step run-up, but Labuschagne wasn’t ready still, asking for more time. It reached a point where Ashwin just stood, hands behind his back, waiting to bowl. When he tried to resume, the Australia batter, yet again, gestured with his hand to wait twice – stopping Ashwin in his tracks as he attempted to quickly go through his action.


That’s when umpire Joel Wilson had enough: he walked up to Labuschagne, trying to understand what the issue was. Wilson, Labuschagne and India captain Rohit Sharma were involved in a mid-pitch conference. They spoke animatedly before the players around broke into a smile. It looked like everything was back to normal.

Almost. R Ashwin decided to have the last laugh: he ditched his two-step run-up and trudged back to his normal spot, leading to further delay and smiles all around. “Mind games or what,” said Ravi Shastri in the commentary box.

Finally, after all the delay, Ashwin finally delivered the ball, and all was fine again. Labuschagne stayed put till the end, combining with Head to steer Australia to a nine-wicket win.

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