The Roar
The Roar


Lyon left stranded on 499, Marnus gets the finger, 'Harmison' Starc hooked despite jaffa

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
16th December, 2023
1586 Reads

Nathan Lyon is on the brink of history after taking his 499th wicket thanks to a superb Alex Carey stumping – but he will have to wait until Pakistan’s second innings to take it.

“This is tighter than a facelift,” said Kerry O’Keeffe on commentary on the decision, which eventually went the Australians’ way following a three minute long review by TV umpire Michael Gough.

With the wicket taken off the last ball of the over, Skull joked that Australia should wait for Lyon to be able to take his 500th against Pakistan’s number 11, Shaheen Shah Afridi.

“Usman Khawaja should bowl this over!” he joked. “The first catch that goes up, ten people will cry ‘drop it!’”

Khawaja wasn’t the bowler, but played his part in the unpopular ending when Afridi attempted to launch Travis Head into the sun and was caught by the opening batter.

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Earlier in the day, Lyon had tempted Imam into the big shot before turning the ball past him, with Carey completing the stumping.

He was ecstatic to take the wicket, having set Imam up with several balls before, and will be acutely aware of the impending record, especially after missing the bulk of the Ashes due to injury, robbing him of the chance to pass the mark in England.


Should he make it, the spinner would be just the eighth player ever – and the third Australian behind Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath – to reach 500 in Tests. He would also be the second off-spinner, behind Muttiah Muralitharan, who leads the list on 800.

“It is always the next wicket,” he said before the Test to Fox Cricket when on 496 wickets.

“That will always be the case.

“But you look at the greats of Australian cricket and Warne and McGrath are the only two blokes to have taken over 500 wickets.

“For me to be within four of that, and to be edging my way closer to those guys, it is pretty amazing.”

Marnus in strife after huge crack causes finger injury

Marnus Labuschagne was left in tremendous pain after being struck heavily on the finger by a Khurram Shahzad delivery that hit a crack and reared up on the Australian batter.


It caused a long delay, with a visible cut on Labuschagne’s finger – which, if broken, could threaten his participation in the rest of the series.

Immediately, the commentators were discussing whether, given the match situation, it was worth Marnus continuing at all.

“It’s got to have hit a crack,” said Ian Smith.

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

“220 in front, one of your champion batters – do you need him out there? It’s not like you absolutely have to be out there.

“Often when batters signal for help right from the get-go, you know that they think they’re in a spot of bother. Most batters don’t like to show pain, but that was nasty.”

Labuschagne elected to continue but fell to Shahzad in his next over after skying a short ball that was pouched by Sarfaraz Ahmed behind the stumps.


He was sent for scans after stumps and if he’s out of the second Test in Melbourne, all-rounder Cameron Green would get a recall.

The bounce had been uneven from the start of Australia’s innings, with David Warner cut in half by a grubber, before popping up an easy catch after one reared up the very next ball.

Starc’s strange day

Mitchell Starc was rocks and diamonds with the ball, producing two horror overs that forced Pat Cummins to hook him from the attack – while also producing a trademark toe crusher to remove Ahmed.

On taking the new ball, Starc produced a maiden of unplayable deliveries – but only because they were so wide that Saud Shakeel couldn’t get within cooee of the ball. Carey caught the final effort in front of first slip, but the umpires decided not to punish the bowler.

In his second over, Starc gave them no choice with one that sent Steve Smith at second slip flying as Carey lept after the ball in vain, with five wides the result.

“That’s very poor,” said Ian Smith on Fox Cricket.


(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

“That’s a Steve Harmison-type situation there,” added Michael Vaughan.

Either side of the wide, he was hit for two fours by Shakeel – then produced a jaffa that beat the bat, then a full toss down the leg side.

Cummins had no option but to ditch his strike weapon after just two overs with the new ball, such was the chaos that was ensuing.

Even so, Starc had earlier removed Ahmed with a picture-perfect ball that ripped off stump from the ground and left the wicketkeeper batter staring at his feet.

Mitch Marsh rules out switch that ‘doesn’t make sense’ after career revival

Mitch Marsh has politely ruled himself out of contention to replace David Warner as Australia opener, saying it doesn’t make sense for him to abandon the No.6 position he loves so much.


Warner will retire at the end of the current three-match Test series against Pakistan, leaving a huge question mark as to how best to replace him.

If selectors opt for a like-for-like replacement, then Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw are the leading candidates.

Other options include moving either Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne or Marsh to opener, which would allow Cameron Green to return to the side.

Marsh has been a revelation at No.6 since returning to the Test side during this year’s Ashes, and he showcased his value again on Friday by scoring 90 against Pakistan in Perth.

It lifted Australia to 487, with Pakistan to resume on day three at 2-132.

Marsh is in a happy place both on and off the field, and the 32-year-old doesn’t want to tempt fate by moving up to opener.

Mitch Marsh of Australia talks to the press after the days play from day two of the Men's First Test match between Australia and Pakistan at Optus Stadium on December 15, 2023 in Perth, Australia (Photo by James Worsfold - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Mitch Marsh. (Photo by James Worsfold – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)


“Absolutely not,” Marsh said.

“I appreciate that there’s talk about it and eventually we’re going to need a new opener with Davey leaving.

“But I’ve worked really hard to get back in this side, and for me to look forward to having a role as an opener just doesn’t make sense to me.

“I love batting at number six and I guess in my last four Test matches I’ve really found my way and who I am as a Test cricketer.

“I’m loving it, so I’m reluctant to change that.” Marsh fell 10 runs short of his century in Perth when he attempted a big heave on the first ball after lunch on Friday and was bowled by Khurram Shahzad.

Although shattered to miss out on a century in front of family and friends, Marsh was content in the knowledge he was dismissed playing his way.

It was far different earlier in his career, when he tried to imitate the more patient styles of players around him.


“I’ve tried to play the long innings (in the past) and play like Steve Smith and Davey and Uzzie (Khawaja) and all those guys that can bat for six hours,” Marsh said.

“I guess I just wanted to come back into this Test team and be really true to myself.

“I’ve sort of found my method that works.

“I don’t necessarily have the technique of Smudge (Steve Smith) and Marnus (Labuschagne) where they can defend and leave and defend and leave for hours and sort of get through those periods.

“I know that when I show really good intent that I move better and I can defend good balls, but ultimately I can put pressure back onto other teams.

“And the beauty of batting at six is hopefully if we bat well, we get some tired bowlers to try to counter attack and keep the game moving forward.


“I’ve got a really clear role that allows me to be myself.”

With AAP