Marnus Labuschagne nonplussed after making Ashes case on wild wicket

Batsman and bowlers alike were left puzzled by a Southampton surface that seamed like a green top but dried out rapidly over day one of Australia’s lone Ashes warm-up while also providing variable bounce.

A ledger of 201 for 17 across the day hardly depicted a batting paradise, but nor was it exactly the sort of slow, seaming surface that the tourists can be expected to face against England over five Tests at Edgbaston, Lord’s, Headingley, Old Trafford and The Oval over the next two months. Marnus Labuschagne, the only batsman to pass 30 all day, and Jackson Bird, one of four pacemen to take three wickets or more, were united in their puzzlement.

“We were umming and ahhing this morning about what to do if we were going to bowl or bat,” Labuschagne said after making 41 out of 105 for his side. “I actually called Sam Northeast up in the change room and he was saying that on this wicket…

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