‘We are convinced it was out’ – Nortje on Labuschagne catch controversy

by  Staff  •  Published on Wed, Jan 4, 2023,

Anrich Nortje, like his team-mates, was convinced that the catch Simon Harmer took at slip off the edge of Marnus Labuschagne’s bat, was a clean one, although the third umpire ruled in favour of the batter after looking at multiple replays.

Labuschagne, who was on 70 at that stage, had edged a Marco Jansen delivery in the 40th over to the left of Harmer at slip. The ball stayed low and it appeared Harmer had pulled off the catch inches off the ground. Labuschagne, however, stood his ground and umpire Paul Reiffel sought the help of third umpire Richard Kettleborough, who after checking multiple angles, deemed that the ball had made contact with the ground.

Nortje, however, begged to differ. “All of us thought it was out. Simon (Harmer) was convinced it was straight. Think if you look at the front on angles, to us it looks like the fingers are underneath it. Unfortunately we didn’t get that one, I think it would have been a big one at that stage. We are convinced it was out,” he said at the end of a rain-shortened Day 1 of the SCG Test.

Speaking about how he advised Jansen to put it behind him, Nortje said: “You just have to try and focus again, it can quickly get out of hand where you feel you’ve been hard done by. I told Marco as well to just try and focus on what you were doing. Try and get through that phase where that drifts out of your mind again.”

Nortje eventually dismissed Labuschagne for 79 shortly before Stumps, with Australia ending the day’s play at 147/2 on Wednesday (January 4).

When asked about his comments regarding the decision, Labuschagne said: “The easiest way to explain it is that I nicked it and looked back, saw that the type of the catch, regardless of whether it’s caught or not, with the technology, there’s so many ones that people are adamant they have caught – and Simon said that, I’ve caught that – and in the old rules of catching it because you felt like your fingers are under it, absolutely, but in the new footage those are so scrutinized because you see so many angles.

“Especially that side-on angle, makes it look really bad, then the front-on angle actually looks pretty good,” said Labuschagne. “If there’s no TV then I’m walking, that’s just how the game works. But with the amount of slow-motion footage of the ball, you see his fingers push and split open, according to the technicalities some of the ball is touching the grass, regardless of whether his fingers are under it or not.”

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