'Huge technical flaw' - Pietersen spots chink in Labuschagne's armoury
England batting great Kevin Pietersen spotted a major chink in Marnus Labuschagne's game after his dismissal on the penultimate day of the Ashes 2023 opener in Birmingham. Pietersen wasn't pleased with Labuschagne trying to chase a wide delivery from Stuart Broad and edging it to the wicketkeeper in the most critical situation of the game.
Labuschagne was out nicking the English right-arm seamer despite facing a seemingly untroublesome ball, which he should've left with ease outside the off-stump. But his dismissal after a fine start of 13 only fastened an Australian mini-collapse that reduced the tourists to 107/3 by the close of play in the chase of 280.
Pietersen spotted the Australian No.3 was beginning his trigger movement the wrong way, in that it pushed him far off the mark from the off-stump, which then forced him to play at a ball he would've left comfortably if he had batted with the traditional middle-and-leg stance.
The English stalwart turned commentator felt this is a "huge technical flaw" and might worsen Marnus Labuschagne's fortunes at the Test level after an incredible start. That Labuschagne needs to tighten up his defensive game had been evident also during the trip to India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February-March as he missed out on multiple occasions on turning pitches.
Pietersen finds out technical flaw in Labuschagne's game
Speaking to Sky Sports after the day's play got over on Monday (June 19), Pietersen said the trigger movement which Marnus Labuschagne undergoes before facing the ball pushes him way outside the line of the off-stump, which in English conditions could mean his weight going at the wide ball that he would otherwise leave and survive.
"Look at how wide that ball is to Marnus. I just think there’s a huge technical flaw there. He shouldn’t be playing at that delivery, you’ve got to let it go. He’s batting too far across his stumps, triggering too much," Pietersen said.
Australia needed Labuschagne to stitch up a good partnership at that stage. Instead, his dismissal gave England a way back into the contest as they strive to defend the less-than-ideal but competitive score of 280 in the fourth innings.
The hosts also bagged the great Steve Smith thereafter and left the Aussies with seven wickets, including a longish tail, for the remaining 173 runs on what should be a riveting Day 5.