New summer of cricket, same old Marnus Labuschagne.
The Australian No. 3 has brought up his eighth Test century, reaching triple figures late on day one of the series opener against the West Indies at Perth Stadium.
Labuschagne brought up his ton in 192 deliveries on Wednesday, passing the milestone with a powerful cut stroke through point before saluting the crowd with his trademark grin.
It’s hopefully the start of another prolific Test summer for the talented right-hander.
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Earlier, the 28-year-old waltzed to the crease following the dismissal of David Warner, who chopped on in the fourth over for 5.
The West Indies seamers were disciplined in the opening session, rarely straying in line and length as Labuschagne mustered just two boundaries during his first 20 overs in the middle.
But runs started flowing after the lunch break once the pitch had settled and the Kookaburra lost its shine.
Labuschagne was calm at the crease, patiently biding his time. He seemed less agitated than usual.
“He’s a bit more settled today,” Australian cricket legend Adam Gilchrist said on Fox Cricket.
“It’s almost like he’s maturing a little bit.”
Former Australian batter Michael Hussey continued: “He does seem a lot more composed, a lot more in control.”
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It wasn’t a flawless knock from Labuschagne, far from it. He was worked over by West Indies paceman Jayden Seales in the 42nd over, with an outside edge flying through the slip cordon.
“You’ve won the over,” Labuschagne told Seales at the change of ends.
Labuschagne combined with Usman Khawaja for a 142-run partnership before the latter departed in the 53rd over for 65, but that only brought Steve Smith to the crease.
And nobody loves batting with the New South Welshman more than Labuschagne — the duo average 63.86 together at Test level, with eight century stands in 23 knocks.
“It is the master and the apprentice,” former national coach Justin Langer told Channel 7.
“They have become great friends. They have helped each other, they love cricket and to be out there on such a great moment for Marnus, not only for Marnus, for the team, for his family.
“It’s nice to have one of your best mates out there batting with you.”
Labuschagne currently averages 69.28 in Tests on Australian soil, a figure bettered only by Sir Donald Bradman.
The Queenslander is unstoppable at Perth Stadium — he scored 143 and 50 during his only other Test match at the newly-developed venue in December 2019.
Labuschagne, who was unbeaten on 154 at stumps, will be eyeing a second Test double century on Thursday.
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