Marnus Labuschagne made history as international cricket’s first concussion substitute before his valuable fifty helped Australia draw the second Ashes Test against England at Lord’s on Sunday.
Labuschagne was not confirmed as playing until Sunday morning when Australia star Steve Smith was ruled out with concussion, having been hit by a Jofra Archer bouncer during his 92 on Saturday.
Previously, a substitute would only have been permitted to field.
But this series is the first in the ICC’s inaugural World Test Championship featuring new rules that allow replacement players to take a bat or bowl, if they are covering for concussed team-mates.
Labuschagne responded to his late call-up by top-scoring with 59 in Australia’s eventual second-innings 154-6.
Had the old rules been in place, and Smith not batted in the second innings, England could have well won and levelled the series at 1-1 after skipper Joe Root declared to set Australia a stiff target of 267 in 48 overs following Ben Stokes’s 115 not out.
It seemed the match was destined for a draw, with Australia 132-3 after tea in a Test where five sessions were washed out, with rain also delaying Sunday’s start by over an hour.
But Australia, who won the first Test at Edgbaston by the huge margin of 251 runs, lost three wickets for 17 runs to give England hope. Come the last over, bowled by left-arm spinner Jack Leach, England needed four wickets for victory, but Pat Cummins played out three deliveries to secure the draw.