Cricket

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne hits third successive Test century

Marnus Labuschagne’s chance-less effort on Thursday saw him crossing the 1000-run mark in Tests.

Marnus Labuschagne’s chance-less effort on Thursday saw him crossing the 1000-run mark in Tests.   | Photo Credit: AP

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Kiwis toil in the heat, but hit back under the lights

Emerging Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne on Thursday posted his third successive Test century to frustrate a resilient New Zealand attack on the opening day of the first Test here.

After Australia won a potentially pivotal toss in scorching heat and elected to bat in the first ever day-night Test in Perth, the home team was 248 for four at stumps after facing some challenging bowling from the disciplined Kiwis.

The rock

Having toiled without much success in 40°C heat, the Kiwis fought back late in the day by removing Steve Smith (43) and Matthew Wade (12). However, Labuschagne was the rock and was unbeaten on 110, with Travis Head on 20.

The leading run-scorer in Test cricket this year, the 25-year-old passed the 1,000-run mark in the five-day format. Called up for the Ashes in England after Smith was injured, Labuschagne had posted his first two Test centuries in his previous two outings against Pakistan.

He reached this hundred against New Zealand in style, lofting spinner Mitchell Santner down the ground for six to move from 95 to 101. It was just the second six of his Test career and he reached the milestone off 166 balls.

By contrast, star batsman Smith really struggled, taking 164 balls to make 43 before falling to a leg side trap by Neil Wagner.

Smith and Labuschagne put on 132 for the third wicket, but Wagner peppered the former with short balls and he duly hit another rising delivery to Tim Southee at leg gully.

Ferguson injured

He had previously been dropped in the slips on 19, denying debutant Lockie Ferguson his first Test wicket after being called up to replace the injured Trent Boult. Ferguson shortly after left the field with a right calf problem and played no further part in the day.

Earlier, David Warner had looked set to continue his golden summer until a sharp return catch by Wagner removed him for 43. Warner miscued a full toss back down the pitch and the left-arm quick clutched the catch in his right hand just centimetres off the ground on his follow-through.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 12:07:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/australias-marnus-labuschagne-hits-third-successive-test-century/article30289556.ece

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