Another century hat-trick puts Labuschagne in rare company
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Australia’s No.3 Marnus Labuschagne continues his brilliant start to the summer with a third-straight century against the West Indies
Australia’s No.3 Marnus Labuschagne continues his brilliant start to the summer with a third-straight century against the West Indies

MARNUS Labuschagne’s golden start to the NRMA Insurance Test summer has seen him become just the second Australian to score centuries in three consecutive innings on two separate occasions.

Labuschagne’s second hat-trick came under lights during day one of the Adelaide pink-ball Test against West Indies, as the tireless right-hander waltzed to his 10th century under lights.

The 28-year-old square-drove Devon Thomas for four to reach a patient hundred off 186 deliveries, celebrating with a kiss of the badge on his helmet and a long embrace with batting partner Travis Head.

Labuschagne, having blazed scores of 185, 162 and 143 against Pakistan in late 2019, had already been among the Australian men to have posted three centuries in three consecutive Test innings, a group that includes the likes of Sir Donald Bradman and Adam Gilchrist.

But he now joins David Warner as the only Aussies in an even more exclusive club of batters to have achieved the feat twice.

Warner, whose dismissal for 21 had brought Labuschagne to the crease yesterday afternoon, did the triple in 2014 (135 and 145 v South Africa, and 133 against Pakistan) and then again the following year (163, 116 and 253 against New Zealand

The only other players to have done the hat-trick twice are Kumar Sangakkara (in 2013 and 2014) and Aravinda de Silva (both instances coming in 1997).

The other Australians to have done it once along with Bradman, Warner and Gilchrist are Arthur Morris, Charlie Macartney, Jack Fingleton and Warren Bardsley.

That kind of company is an indication of just how rare Labuschagne’s current form is.

He has now hit centuries in four of his last five Test innings having posted 104 in the first innings of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Galle in June,

Yet the manner in which he started his latest innings highlighted an intense focus on making no presumptions that form will carry on from Test to Test.

Labuschagne blocked, left, bunted or dodged his first 65 balls before finally hitting out at his 66th – a wide Anderson Phillip delivery – to get his first boundary.

“What happened last week is great but it doesn’t mean anything today,” he told Fox Cricket at the dinner break, having scored 204 and 104 n.o. in Perth against the same opposition.

It took him 108 balls to reach his half-century, the 23rd time he has passed that mark at this level, as he and Travis Head regrouped after Steve Smith departed for a rare duck

He then took advantage of a tiring West Indies attack, missing first-gamer Marquino Mindley who sent down just two overs on day one before being sent for scans on his hamstring, in the final session.

Labuschagne could finish this innings with a higher Test batting average than Smith having passed his close friend’s mark of 61.17 shortly before reaching triple figures, though if he is dismissed he would need to have scored more than 151 to stay ahead of Smith.

Labuschagne is now also quickly gaining on his Queensland captain Usman Khawaja for runs scored in the 2022 calendar year.

Khawaja had ticked over 1 000 runs for the year earlier in the day in a 96-run stand with Labuschagne and currently has 1,021 at 85.

Labuschagne has now passed 800 runs in 2022 and could yet join Khawaja as the fourth batter to pass the four-figure mark (Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow have also scored over 1 000 runs this year) given he could bat another five times before the year is over with Tests to come against South Africa in Brisbane and Melbourne. (Cricket.com.au)

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