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Watch: Marnus Labuschagne signals for ‘smokes’ mid-game, uses lighter to fix frayed helmet

Marnus Labuschagne burns helmet during Sydney Test match 2022/23
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: During the third Test match against South Africa, Marnus Labuschagne asked for a lighter on to the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Having already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead, Australia won the toss and opted to bat in Sydney. Anrich Nortje (2-26) broke through early, when he had David Warner (10) caught at slip by Marco Jansen in the fourth over. Australia were 12-1 at this stage, but Usman Khawaja and Labuschagne saw off the first hour against Kagiso Rabada, Nortje, and Jansen.

At the first drinks break, Australia were 30-1 after 13 overs of batting. During the interval, Labuschagne’s gesture towards the Australian dressing-room caught everyone’s eye: he alternately pointed at his helmet and made gestures of smoking.


“I presume he didn’t want a quick dart,” suggested a commentator, using the Australian slang for cigarettes.

Once a teammate arrived with a cigarette lighter (it is not clear whose), Labuschagne proceeded to fray something inside the helmet that had presumably been annoying him. “It’s a rather rudimentary approach to fixing the situation,” was the on-air verdict.

By then, news of Matt Renshaw testing positive for COVID-19 had hit the headlines. Renshaw had been recalled to the Test side after a gap of nearly four years. However, he will continue to feature in the Test match.

Having repaired his helmet, Labuschagne continued until lunch, outscoring Khawaja. Dyuring the second session, he was caught by Simon Harmer at first slip, off Jansen. The South African fielders celebrated, but Labuschagne stood his ground, and was eventually ruled not out by television umpire Richard Kettleborough.

Rain stopped play with Australia on 135-1, as it did again, four overs after resumption. However, Nortje bowled a peach to have Labuschagne (79) caught-behind the last ball before the second interruption. Australia are now 147-2, with Usman Khawaja on 54.

One can safely conclude that fraying the helmet was one of Labuschagne’s lighter moments of the day.

Watch Marnus Labuschagne’s ingenious helmet-repairing method here:


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