Mark Wood got the better of Marnus Labuschagne on day one of the fourth Ashes Test at the SCG. Labuschagne looked settled after forming a good partnership with Marcus Harris. But soon after Harris' wicket, he edged one to the wicket keeper in Wood’s eight over.
The English pacer has had the final say against Labuschagne twice in as many games. Speaking in the press conference at the end of the day's play, Wood expressed his desire to form a rivalry similar to the one between teammate Stuart Broad and Aussie opener David Warner:
“I’d love to have a Broad-Warner thing – anybody would love to have that where you feel like you’ve got a chance of getting somebody out.”
"Marnus had, the ball before, hit me for four and I just tried to zone in a little bit more. I knew the ball before was a bit loose and he hit it for four, as the good players do, so I just tried to really focus on that ball and thankfully I got it spot on.”
Wood also said it was a tactical decision by skipper Joe Root to bring him on against both Labuschagne and Smith.
“When Marnus came to the wicket, Joe wanted me on. I think when Smith came in, I think it was good instinct from Rooty to get me on and I think he wanted me to try and have that wicket-taking intent.”
“Luckily I managed to get the ball in the right area and Marnus edged it which doesn't happen very often but I’m pleased that I’ve managed to get him a couple of times now.”
The delivery that got Labuschagne out was short of good length, angling into the batsman and leaving little chance for him to leave.
“Warner is a tough nut to crack, but his wicket got us going” - Mark Wood
David Warner lost his wicket to Stuart Broad yet again in the red-ball format. After several interruptions due to rain, Warner edged one to the cordon off Broad’s bowling for 30.
Wood went on to further emphasize how Warner's was an important wicket for his side. The pacer suggested that the wicket 'got them going'.
“One way or another (something happens) – either Warner gets runs or Stuart gets him out. Dave is obviously a quality player, and what I found for myself is that he is a tough nut to crack this tour.”
“I felt like we have bowled well at him, but he has been able to keep us out and score whenever we miss, which is what good players do. He’s been a tough nut to crack, but I’m really glad Stuart got that wicket because we really needed it to get us going. That wicket got us going.”
Australia controlled the game for most of the day, losing just one wicket after 39 overs of play. But they lost two quick wickets towards the end of play, leaving the game balanced at the end of day one.
We could be in for some great cricket on day two, if the rain gods permit, given the behavior of the pitch so far.