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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Marnus Labuschagne 2.0: Rise of a concussion replacement to No. 3 Australian batsman

The Queensland batsman's moment to shine came at Lord's when Jofra Archer's scathing bouncer floored No.1 Test batsman Steve Smith.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: November 30, 2019 11:36:08 am
Marnus Labuschagne scored his second 150-plus score on the trot (Source: AP)

Marnus Labuschagne continued his red-hot form on Saturday with second 150 on the trot. Labuschagne scored 162 runs from 238 deliveries before losing his wicket to Shaheen Afridi after the second new ball was taken. The 25-year-old is the leading run-scorer with 829 runs in Test cricket in the year 2019, surpassing teammate Steve Smith.

Labuschagne was included in Australia’s Test squad as Smith was serving a one-year ban after the ball-tampering scandal. As David Warner and the former Australian skipper returned to the national side, Labuschagne was excluded from the playing eleven as he had scored 210 runs from eight innings at an average of 26.25.

The Queensland batsman’s moment to shine came at Lord’s when Jofra Archer’s scathing bouncer floored No.1 Test batsman Steve Smith. Labuschagne became the first batsman to come in as concussion replacement as Smith could not continue in the second innings.

Labuschagne made it count and scored a half-century at Lord’s, helping his side draw a rain-affected Test. He had scored three more half-centuries on the trot in the Ashes 2019, making a name for himself and cementing his place in the side.

READ: Steve Smith breaks 73-year-old record, fastest to 7000 Test runs

Labuschagne tends to copy Smith a lot. His leaves, his shuffle across the stumps and his body language mirrored one of the best batsmen to play the sport. He has the statistics to show for it as well with a big hundred in the Brisbane Test scoring 185 and following it up with a 162 against Pakistan in home series. According to their teammates, the two spend a lot of time with each other talking about cricket.

Australia’s new No.3 batsman has a batting average of 63.76 in this calendar year opposed to his career batting average of 46.75. His average looks even better since he became Smith’s concussion replacement. He has scored 700 runs in nine innings at an average of 77.77 since the Lord’s Test. He is expected to score 1,000 runs in 2019 with New Zealand touring Australia in December.

READ | No-ball woes continue to haunt Pakistan debutants as Musa Khan does a Naseem Shah

The youngster also shared the highest second-wicket partnership on Australian soil with David Warner. The 361-run partnership is also second-highest for Australia and eighth-highest overall for the second wicket.

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