Australia's Marnus Labuschagne acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the field after scoring 185 against Pakistan on day three of the first Test at the Gabba. Picture: Darren England/AAP
Australia's Marnus Labuschagne acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the field after scoring 185 against Pakistan on day three of the first Test at the Gabba. Picture: Darren England/AAP

Marnus gets the monkey off his back with super 185

Marnus Labuschagne finally has the monkey off his back after converting a 50 into a hundred and quickly turning it into the biggest score by an Australian No.3 in four years.

Australia's find of the Ashes in England, Labuschagne was rewarded on Saturday at home with a magnificent 185 as the Aussies built up a big lead over Pakistan in the first Test in Brisbane.

He let out a triumphant roar when he edged his 161st ball for four off Shaheen Shah Afridi to bring up triple figures, before falling 15 short of a double-century.

It marked the 25-year-old's highest score in first-class cricket, before he eventually edged Shaheen to gully as he appeared tired in the evening session.

It was also the best innings by an Australian batting at first drop since Steve Smith in the 2015 Ashes series, further cementing his position at No.3 for the immediate future.

The big score ends a run of near things for the Queenslander, who has passed 50 in five of his past eight Test innings as well as in three Sheffield Shield games this summer.

He averaged 50.42 in the Ashes, going from Steve Smith's concussion substitute to one of the first picked in Australia's batting line-up.

A small technical change has helped, opening up his stance slightly with a small trigger movement that also changes the axis of his bat swing.

Again though, there were nervous moments on Saturday.

Marnus Labuschagne in full flight against Pakistan.
Marnus Labuschagne in full flight against Pakistan.

He survived a chance on 93, given out lbw to a Yasir Shah top-spinner before he reviewed it and replays showed he'd edged the ball on to his pads.

He was also dropped on 33 on day two, as an edge off Haris Sohail went straight through the hands of Asad Shafiq at first slip and to the boundary.

But otherwise, he was superb.

He drove exquisitely down the ground and on both sides of the wicket at his home ground, hitting anything full both through the covers and masterfully past mid-on.

He hit consecutive boundaries in the over after tea through midwicket, and nurdled the ball nicely behind the wicket off both the quicks and spinners.

Labuschagne's hundred marks a remarkable journey for the South African-born batsman.

His family moved to Australia when he was 10, and he first featured in a Test at the Gabba in 2010 when he was paid $90 a day to move the Nine Network's hot spot camera.

In 2014, he made his name when he took a smart catch at short leg as a sub-fielder for Australia at the same ground, four years before his Test debut.

In January, he scored his first Test half-century in Brisbane, hitting 81 against Sri Lanka in what remained his highest score for Australia until this Test.

But, it will be Saturday's knock at the ground he will cherish most, after spending more than six hours at the crease.

News Corp Australia


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