“I didn’t get greedy, took the runs on offer, and really wasn’t rushed or flustered”
Marnus Labuschagne believed he had never played better than when compiling his century on the second day of the Sheffield Shield final against New South Wales.
Labuschagne finished the day unbeaten on 160, his third century of the season against the Blues and his fourth of the competition, during what was a chanceless display against an attack including three of Australia’s regular Test quartet.
“Maybe not even ever,” Labuschagne said when asked if he had played a better innings this season. “Just the way I played, my tempo, today was better than I feel like it’s ever been. I didn’t get greedy, took the runs on offer, and really wasn’t rushed or flustered and really played to my game.
“Look, I’m not going to say best ever, but it’s up there with one of the better ones I’ve played.”
The nature of the season – and the postponed tour of South Africa – has meant that some of Australia’s Test players have been available for most or all of Sheffield Shield season either side of the India series and the BBL.
“I always say I want to challenge myself against the best opposition and New South Wales are nothing short of a phenomenal team,” Labuschagne said. “Their bowling line-up is amazing. I always love playing against them when they are fit and firing. Always want to score runs against the best teams.”
Labuschagne and Nathan Lyon, who had a compelling duel throughout the day, are two who have played the entire competition. Lyon only had one wicket, that of Bryce Street caught at slip, to show for 32 overs of toil, but acknowledged the efforts of his Australia team-mate.
“That’s the first one [century] he hasn’t had a chance,” he said. “Marnus has been exceptional. I love him to death so hopefully he does it next year against the Poms.
“It’s always a great battle when you compete against some of the best players in the world and over the last 24 months Marnus has found a new level and it’s just great competing against someone like that. He doesn’t give you a sniff, he’s very talented, I’ve got nothing but praise for Marnus.”
Lyon was also hopeful that a young New South Wales batting line-up will have learned by watching Labuschagne go about his work ahead of what will be a huge task to stay in the game. “Hopefully they are watching these guys go about their business…the game’s not dead yet, there’s a small hope for us.”
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