Marnus Labuschagne has done what he does best and broken NSW’s spirits with an unbeaten 160 in the Sheffield Shield final having batted through the entire day.
Chasing NSW’s first innings of 143, Queensland cruised past just one wicket down as Queensland took their time with Labuschagne beating NSW by himself.
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The match is in the Bulls’ court as a draw will now do after blasting NSW out in just 62.2 overs on day one on the back of Test hopeful Michael Neser’s five wicket haul.
While Labuschagne took a brilliant catch to wrap up the NSW innings on day one, he was in his element with the bat as he blasted yet another century.
Even with a near Australian Test bowling line-up featuring Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon, Queensland took their time despite each of the Aussie trio claiming a wicket each.
But all day, Labuschagne was the thorn in NSW’s side with a faultless display has be batted all day.
When he brought up his hundred off 187 balls, the commentators pumped up Labuschagne’s incredible performance.
“He’s hardly put a foot wrong,” Allan Border said on Fox Cricket. “I can’t think of too many absolute false shots.
“He’s just been absolutely fantastic with his concentration, shot selection. He’s dealt with a bit of everything.”
Darren Lehmann added that the innings was “one of the best hundreds I’ve seen in terms of conditions, a final.”
“The wicket’s sort of settled down a bit today you’d say, but it’s certainly been a very, very good hundred,” he added.
Andrew Symonds said it was “something else” with the innings showing just how good Labuschagne has become.
But that wasn’t all as he went past 150 with ease and had more runs in sight with a draw good enough for Queensland to claim the first title since 2017-18.
The Queensland star has moved into third on the run scorers list in the Sheffield Shield with his competition leading fourth century of the season in just 10 innings.
Former Queensland skipper Jimmy Maher’s Shield Final record of 223 against Victoria in 2006 could also be under threat with Labuschagne looking hungry for even more runs.
After the day’s play, Labuschagne spoke with Fox Cricket’s Mel Jones, agreeing with Lehmann that this was one of his best innings.
“Absolutely, my tempo today was a lot better especially when I did reach 100, I pulled my tempo back a little bit and I was actually able to manipulate the field a little bit more rather than push the envelope and take a risk,” he said. “Where I have gotten out for 110-115, I was able to push on.”
Jones also asked him if he ever gets tired of batting.
“No I don’t, especially on occasions like this,” he said. “Shield final, at home with 2500 people here, there’s a lot of motivation for us. It’s a very proud thing to play for your state and win a Shield, so there’s a lot on the line.”