Marnus Labuschagne hit a purple patch in the second-half of 2019 after becoming Steve Smith’s concussion substitute in the Lord’s Test. The 25-year-old has now started 2020 on a grand note, scoring his fourth Test ton against New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Courtesy his knock, Australia managed to score 282 for three, getting the upper hand after the first day’s play in Sydney.
Labuschagne and Smith steady the ship
Amidst the bush-fire tragedy in New South Wales, the third and final Test got underway. The Aussies made a steady start as David Warner (45) and Joe Burns (18) added 39 for the first wicket. Colin de Grandhomme found Burns’ outside edge to strike first blood. Steve Smith (63) joined Warner and they played out the first session. But Warner perished in the very first over of the second session.
The southpaw couldn’t counter a short-ball from Neil Wagner and was caught at leg gully. Thereafter, Marnus Labuschagne (130*) put on a stand of 156 runs with Smith and helped the hosts clinch the ascendancy. Smith was a tad circumspect and got to his half-century off 143 balls. At the other end, Labuschagne took only 97 balls to score his fifty and commence the year on a grand note.
Labuschagne make New Zealand strain
In the final session, Labuschagne went from strength to strength and notched his century off 163 balls. Just when it seemed that Smith and Marnus would see the Aussies through to stumps, De Grandhomme made a breakthrough. The second new ball did the trick as the pacer nipped Smith out. The leather jagged a tad and flew to Ross Taylor at first slip after taking Smith’s outside edge.
Matthew Wade (22) came out with intent and played his strokes freely. Wagner tried to pepper him with short deliveries, but without much success. Meanwhile, Labuschagne smacked 12 fours and a six, disallowing the Black Caps from getting under his skin. Marnus and Wade’s stand has fetched 32 runs off 41 balls and the onus will be on the pair to carry on with the good work on the second day.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to Labuschagne’s dominance:
Smith’s wicket comes after stirring words from @Bazmccullum on @7Cricket about @BLACKCAPS team culture! #AUSvNZ
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) January 3, 2020
Mr. Somerville cannot keep me in my crease ever I’m going for the Windows every ball I face #MindTheWindows #SomervilleLooksSweet😂😂 #AusVsNZ @FoxCricket
— Tino95 (@tinobest) January 3, 2020
Understandably not a huge crowd at @SCG #austvnz
— Dean Jones AM (@ProfDeano) January 3, 2020
Another leg spinner with batting great.
Another great player produce by Australian.
— SYED IBRAHIM (@silaafi2415) January 3, 2020
Ended 2019 as highest run scorer in test, Start 2020 with a Century.
Marnus Labuschagne so far in Australian summer.
185 v Pak, Brisbane
162 v Pak, Adelaide
143 v NZ, Perth
50 v NZ, Perth
63 v NZ, MCG
19 v NZ, MCG
103* v NZ, SCG#AUSvNZ #MarnusLabuschagne #labuschagne
— Najeeb ul Hasnain (@ImNajeebH) January 3, 2020
Marnus Labuschagne is currently the best in the world 🤷🏼♂️ #AUSvNZ #SAvENG pic.twitter.com/ZFRipEeDlG
— Luke Robinson (@lukejrobinson15) January 3, 2020
Marnus Labuschagne Currently Is New Steve Smith.#AUSvNZ #AUSvsNZ #labuschagne
— Akshay 🇮🇳 (@IRealAkshay) January 3, 2020
Marnus Labuschagne is continuing his fine form in Test Cricket. #Cricket #AUSvNZ pic.twitter.com/N4lKYAos5M
— CricTracker (@Cricketracker) January 3, 2020
Marnus Labuschagne is the latest test batting sensation every cricket enjoying person was waiting for.
— Acc'Ant (@Ekwarna) January 3, 2020
Number 1 person for Marnus Labuschagne to thank is Joffra Archer @FoxCricket
— The Blinkered L Stars (@djebel) January 3, 2020
Marnus Labuschagne absolute run machine. Unbelievable cricketer 🏏🔥
— Arsaam Malik (@ArsaamMalik) January 3, 2020
Q: Can you possibly overshadow and completely diminish @stevesmith49? If yes, then how?
A: Ask Marnus Labuschagne#AUSvNZ #AUSvsNZ
— Suhas Yogin (@suhasyogin) January 3, 2020
Fourth Test Hundred for Marnus Labuschagne in this summer 🔥
This summer surely belongs to Marnus what a player he is Unstoppable 🔥
LEGEND in making 🔥#AUSvsNZ pic.twitter.com/QMfPXwbXtI
— Shahzaib Ali 🇵🇰 (@DSBcricket) January 3, 2020
End of a dominant day with the bat for Australia. Their star, Marnus Labuschagne walks off to a standing ovation. He deserves every bit of it, an excellent innings, full of class and it is because of him Australia are in the position they are in.#AUSvNZ l #AUSvNZL
— Wesley00005 (@Wesley000051) January 3, 2020
Marnus Labuschagne you frrreeakk.This guy's in phenomenal touch.#StarInTheMaking #AUSvNZ
— Siddharth Mishra (@Mirror_ur_self) January 3, 2020
Marnus Labuschagne has been simply outstanding!#AUSvNZ
— Bhartendu Sharma (@Bhartendulkar) January 3, 2020
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