'Blatant cheating': Aussie star's explosive swipe at Joe Root

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Andy Bichel has taken an extraordinary swipe at Joe Root, saying the England skipper’s controversial catch in the second Test was ‘blatant cheating’.

The contentious catch provided the first notable row in an amicable Ashes series, prompting a mid-pitch debate between Root and Marnus Labuschagne at Lord's on Sunday.

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Labuschagne's match-saving knock of 59 ended when Root claimed a low catch late on day five, but replays appeared to show the ball bounce before it entered his hands.

Most members of Australia's dressing room also felt there was enough evidence for third umpire Joel Wilson to rule 'not out', as did former England captain Michael Vaughan and pace legend Michael Holding.

Joe Root's contentious catch. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

However it remained out, and Bichel was less than impressed.

“It didn’t carry. We can see that,” the former Aussie fast bowler said on Macquarie Sports Radio on Tuesday.

“It’s ricocheted off the player as well so it’s bobbled a little bit to him so therefore he’d know if he’s picked it up on the half volley.

“It’s blatant cheating.”

Bichel also slammed the way Root acted after claiming the catch, telling Labuschagne in no uncertain terms where to go.

“To stand there and all of a sudden give Marnus a bit of a send off as well when Marnus is seeing the footage on the screen that he’s not out and shouldn’t be out. It was a real bizarre one from Joe (Root),” Bichel said.

Andy Bichel in action for Australia in 2003. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

“You’d like to think there’d be a gentleman’s approach to that and just say ‘mate, I didn’t catch that’ and you don’t even go upstairs for it.

“It’s a little low point for a man under pressure in Joe Root. He hasn’t got any runs and now it’s just mounting on him day by day.”

Root maintains innocence

In sharp contrast, Root was certain it was a clean catch and held up his finger to signal out.

Labuschagne walked off shaking his head after exchanging words with Root.

"As a fielder sometimes you feel like you've caught it and that may have been the case," Labuschagne told reporters.

"But definitely when I saw it on replay, I was like; it looks like it bounced.

"I'm not an umpiring professional, so we'll leave it to them. I'm just disappointed to get out that way, to put us under a little bit of pressure."

Surely this isn't out? Image: Channel Nine

Root didn't mince words when asked about the incident.

"I said I caught it," Root recalled.

"I'm an honest guy. I'm not going to try to cheat the game, regardless of the situation.

"It's quite disappointing when it's slowed down and people start questioning your integrity. We play the game in a certain way and that's the right way.

"You know if your fingers are underneath the ball, clearly felt that was the case ... they (slow-motion replays) always look worse than they are."

Test umpires routinely ask the third umpire to review low catches whenever they're uncertain but footage of such dismissals is rarely conclusive.

Marnus Labuschagne was forced to depart. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Captains in some series have made a pact, agreeing to take the fielder's word on disputed catches.

"It'd be nice if there was a little bit more of that but it is what it is," Root said.

"DRS and everything - a lot more does go upstairs. It happens with catches as well.

"It's not going to change ... might as well just get on with it."

Counterpart Tim Paine tried to be diplomatic when asked about the divisive dismissal.

"He thought he caught it. You can make your own opinions from what you saw on the TV, I am not going to comment on it," Paine said.

with AAP