ICC World Test Champioship: Looking back at the performances of the so far concussion substitutes
During the second Test of the recently-concluded Ashes, Steve Smith was struck on the neck by a rising bouncer from Jofra Archer. Though he batted once again in the first innings, Smith was declared injured for the second and cricket's first concussion substitute was used.
Concussion substitutes are replacements for players who are no longer fit to continue due to a concussion, of course. The law was passed by the ICC in July 2019 and came into effect in August. And only two weeks in, it had come into play.
Marnus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute in history as he replaced Smith. Jermaine Blackwood and Theunis de Bruyn followed for West Indies and South Africa, respectively.
We look at the performances of these substitutes and how their contribution affected the result of the game.
#1 Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne came into the match after a vicious bouncer from Jofra Archer hit Steve Smith. While Smith was not knocked out by the blow, the medical team ruled him out of the Test.
This was a piece of unpleasant news to the Aussies as Smith was way ahead and better than all other batsmen in their line up. The hosts were placed in a commanding position and had to get the Aussies all out within 50 overs. That was not a too strenuous task considering their adversary without the protection of their greatest batsmen.
As presumed, they lost their openers early and still had 45 overs more to survive against the moving ball. That is when Marnus Labuschane stepped in and showed the grit which was the most required then. He led Australia's defenses, despite being felled by a sickening blow to the helmet from Archer early in his innings, and made a case for his permanent inclusion with a gritty half-century. His endeavour did not go in vain as Australia earned a much-needed draw they were after.
This is what had happened when cricket saw its first-ever concussion substitute turning out to be a great aid.
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