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Marnus Labuschagne hits double century

It was a good day personally but more importantly a good day for Australia: Marnus Labuschagne

By Reuters in Sydney

  • Published 5.01.20, 3:20 AM
  • Updated 5.01.20, 3:20 AM
Australia's Marnus Labuschagne celebrates his double century, on day two of the third cricket test match between Australia and New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday
Australia's Marnus Labuschagne celebrates his double century, on day two of the third cricket test match between Australia and New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday (AP)

Marnus Labuschagne scored a maiden double century to drive Australia to 454 all out before New Zealand’s openers resisted the home attack to post 63 without loss on the second day of the third Test on Saturday.

Tom Latham, standing in as captain for the sick Kane Williamson, had made 26 not out at the close of play with Tom Blundell unbeaten on 34 but the tourists know they still have a mountain to climb if they are to avoid a 3-0 series sweep.

Labuschagne is a large part of the reason for that and a hot, sunny day at the Sydney Cricket Ground belonged to the irrepressible 25-year-old, who has enjoyed a golden summer in Australia’s home season.

He had a nervous 20 minutes one run short of the double century mark but his 19th four got him over the line and earned him a standing ovation. He finally departed for 215, caught and bowled by spinner Todd Astle, and left the field to another huge ovation having scored 837 runs at an average of 119.57 in five home Tests this season.

“It was a good day personally but more importantly a good day for Australia,” Labuschagne said. “They fought back, as you would expect, but we’ll do the toil and hopefully get the win.”

New Zealand made short work of the tail after Labuschagne’s exit to dismiss the hosts and bring up tea before their openers headed back out to face Australia’s in-form pacemen.

The Black Caps have accumulated only one score in excess of 200 runs in their previous four innings in the series but Latham and Blundell saw off the attack and scrapped their way to stumps.

With Australia utterly dominating all five home matches this year, their fans have had precious little drama to enjoy so it was perhaps understandable that they made the most of Labuschagne’s progress through the 190s.

“Being in the 190s is a bit different to being in the 90s, you’re just trying to avoid doing something stupid,” Labuschagne added.

Steve Smith has set some pretty lofty standards for Australian batting in recent years but Labuschagne’s exploits in the five home Tests this season now bear comparison, especially after he broke a 67-year-old scoring record.

After scoring 215 on Saturday, Labuschagne has now scored a double century, two 150s, one century and two half centuries in his last seven innings.

Labuschagne’s 837 runs for the home season bettered the 834 Australian batting great Neil Harvey tallied in a five-match series against South Africa in 1952-53.

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