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Friday, March 05, 2021

Gabba Test: How Labuschagne rode his luck as India dropped catches yet again

Marnus Labuschagne scored a stylish century on day one of the fourth Test after getting two reprieves.

Written by Rahul Sadhu |
Updated: January 16, 2021 6:14:56 am
Australia India CricketAustralia's Marnus Labuschagne bats during play on the first day of the Gabba Test. (AP Photo)

Marnus Labuschagne arrived at the crease in the second over of day one of the fourth and final Test match between India and Australia at the Gabba. Labuschagne began slowly and cautiously, scoring just 25 runs from his first 90 balls but then went on to hit 57 from his last 54 balls faced as he ended with a fine 108 (204 balls). However, that was not before the Indian team gave him a generous lease of life — not once but twice.

Captain guilty

In the 36th over of Australia’s innings, Navdeep Saini squared up Labuschagne with a brilliant delivery which held its line after pitching just outside off. Labuschagne was forced to play at it and as he went at it with hard hands, the edge flew straight to Rahane who dropped a sitter. Labuschagne was on 37 at that stage.

The disappointment of the dropped catch was yet to go away when Saini injured himself on the next ball and walked off the field without even completing his over. Rohit Sharma took over to complete the over with his first delivery in an away Test since 2014.

Labuschagne gets life again

10 overs later it was T Natarajan who got the better of Labuschagne as he drew an edge with one that straightened from around the wicket. However, the outside edge fell just short of Pujara at first slip, who was diving away to his left but was standing too deep. While it was a sharp chance, the positing of the keeper and slips should have been spot on which was corrected thereafter but was probably too little too late. Labuschagne was on 49 then.

Reflecting on his innings, Labuschagne spoke after the end of days play and said, “You know you don’t need to be playing at anything around 4th stump line or even 3 and a half stumps. I tell myself to be cool, when you get to a hundred just carry on. A little bit disappointed that I got out.”

The series is tied 1-1, with the Border-Gavaskar trophy on the line at the Gabba, where Australia hasn’t lost a cricket Test since 1988.

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