Marnus Labuschagne

Lots to look back on Day 2 of the 2nd Test yesterday starting off with Australia’s continuous run chase from 300-3, where Marnus Labuschagne & Travis Head continued to shine for most of the 1st session after an excellent opening day shift that saw them hang in there & pile up runs for longer periods of time.

But their time in the middle has eventually came to an end in between towards the afternoon break & the early stages of the middle session; one was Marnus being caught behind by Joshua Da Silva off Devon Thomas not long before lunch on 163, and another was where Head couldn’t get back home on time as the non-striker that saw him being ran out by Da Silva on 175.

Then WI profited a few quick wickets through the tail order. Although keeper Alex Carey was the notable exception that kept Australia on the up with runs on the board; he too scored a quickfire 54-ball 41 before fill-in Captain Steve Smith declared at 511-7 for Australia. We would’ve loved to see him cap off with a Test 50 but played really well nonetheless.

And we fast forward to the 2nd innings play where Michael Neser fired off with back-to-back early wickets for the Aussies before that momentum helped them collect another two wickets by the end of Day 2, as WI will resume on 102-4 & 409 run trail going into Day 3 later this afternoon – with Tagenarine Chanderpaul on 47* & Anderson Phillip on 1*.

Hats off to Neser when he bowled a straight line & length that left Kraigg Braithwaite (19) & Sharmahr Brooks (8) straight back upstarts where their bats were knicked straight to Carey’s gloves. Same goes to Nathan Lyon with his caught & ball effort on Jermaine Blackwood (3), and nice to see Green get his wicket with a good bounce targeting off stump that saw Thomas (19) chopped on through the gate.

They’ve got this now to finish off the other WI batting card ASAP, while WI will want Tagenarine to hang in there with some back up at the other end. Otherwise, they will look for their tail enders again to try & fire it up downtown – If that’s the only way to turn themselves around like last week.

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Great start by the Aussies when they batted well throughout the opening day of the 2nd Test v West Indies at Adelaide Oval – thanks to their winning toss that puts them to pad up & bat first, as they will resume on 300-3 going into Day 2 later today at 3pm AEDT.

The Windies got away with an early advantage when David Warner‘s dipped downhill yet again, after he was caught behind by Joshua Da Silva’s gloves at the hands of Alzarri Joseph on 21. Meanwhile, Warner’s other opening partner in Usman Khawaja scored another decent half-knock well into the first half of the day, including after the first 40-minute afternoon break interval. 

Then WI struck back-to-back wickets in quick succession; one was an LBW when Devon Thomas dismissed Khawaja on 62 – even though Khawaja appealed the DRS review promptly & it wasn’t successful via umpire’s call, and another was a duck from Steve Smith after eight balls – thanks to a caught & bowl effort by Jason Holder.

But that doesn’t affect Australia’s batting progress too much when Marnus Labuschagne once again played another classy hundred for the third straight time so far in this series v WI, while Travis Head went one better this time with his 5th Test hundred in front of his hometown crowd, after he was so unlucky to be dismissed on 99 during the 2nd innings spell in Perth last week. Both players put Australia in a secure position just past the 300 mark, as Labuschagne & Head are still standing on 120* & 114* respectively. We’ve gotta say that it was tremendous to see them play at the highest level and stake their claims there, with Marnus locked up at first-drop for a long-time just like Ricky Ponting; And although Travis Head may have some dips in form along the way especially over the last 12 months, but again his class is permanent as his century yesterday shows that he wants to be batting at No.5 over the next few years like Marnus, having both been thrown into the deep end back in late 2018 v Pakistan while Australia were going through a dark period at the time thanks to the sandpaper gate in South Africa that led to the year-long bans of Steve Smith & Dave Warner. Speaking more of sandpaper gate, South Africa will be back playing here for three more Tests v Australia after this Test match concludes in a few days starting next Saturday at the Gabba in Brisbane.

For now, The Aussies has to keep up the good work they’re doing right now & bat for another half day before they declare & bring the bowlers in to start dismantling the WI batting card one-by-one, especially when WI opening & lower-order areas were so good to watch spells last week. So they need to get ready as soon as the opposition comes sometime later today/tonight and get them out ASAP. And WI better get the job done after a rough day out yesterday with the ball. Yes, their batting can be on par with the Aussies but needs support from their bowlers to limit as low as possible before WI can stand up for themselves & put up a good battle of Test Cricket.

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West Indies resumed on 193-2 with 306 runs left to win following a magnificent knock yesterday from the main man Kraigg Braithwaite while Australia just need eight wickets to go 1-0 up & retain the series trophy, with just a full day’s play left to go on Day 5 of the opening Test match here at Optus Stadium in Perth. 

Australia got away with early wickets on the board spearheaded by Nathan Lyon when not only he clean bowled the dangerous K. Braithwaite through the stumps on 110 – but a good restart also helped them dismantle the Windies middle order – with credit from Steve Smith who’s excellent with catching & diving up close using these soft hands at the slips area.

Then the West Indies still has plenty to offer following the lunch break on 258-7 – when the lower order pair of Roston Chase  (spinning all-rounder) & Alzarri Joseph (seamer) began to smack a couple of incredible shots immediately downtown that added more runs on the board between them while shaving off their team’s huge run trail at the same time. Sadly, they couldn’t hold on for much longer with time running out against them when there’s only two more players left to bat from the tail end.

Roston may have got his quickfire 50, but Alzarri didn’t get past 43 when that unreal partnership was stopped by Travis Head through the gate – before Lyon came back once more to finish off the damage – including Chase on 55 & a first-ball duck from Kemar Roach – that sealed both his six-wicket haul & the win for Australia by 164 runs. The home side will now head to Adelaide Oval alongside the series win at 1-0 with one Test match to spare v WI, before South Africa fly here for three more Tests later this month.

Wow!! Five days of Test Cricket where we saw so much competition from both teams with the bat. However, Australia’s all-round performance – such as Marnus Labuschagne’s back-to-back hundreds, as well as Steve Smith, Travis Head & Spinner Nathan Lyon – have put themselves further ahead in which was enough to finish off first with some energy left in the tank. Can’t wait for the Day-Night test starting on Thursday.

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Australia resumed Day 4 on 29-1 alongside a 344 run advantage as they continued to shine with the bat. It was good to see Dave Warner collect some much-needed runs this time. Although he couldn’t get past 50 when he was caught by Sharmahr Brooks off Rostov Chase’s leg spin on 48, but sure he’ll get another opportunity to prove himself & score big during the next Test – which is going to be a day-nighter under the pink ball starting on Thursday afternoon at Adelaide Oval. 

Once again though, hats off to Marnus Labuschagne who scored another stellar ton on 104 not out after a few dropped catches have gone his way – including a no-ball wicket catch when Alzarri Joseph overstepped the white line. Australia have declared on 182-2 alongside a 497 run lead – that sets up a huge 498 run chase from the West Indies to win.

Going through past the other half of session No.2, as well as tea & stumps time, West Indies have continued to stick to simple basics right from the very beginning which helped them paid off with runs on the board. Not only Tagenarine Chanderpaul continued to make a consistent impact into the 40s before he was bowled out by Mitchell Starc on 46, but Kraigg Braithwaite also did very well as the main man for the Windies where he converted his 50 into a terrific Test Match hundred to savour. Now he will resume on 101 not out alongside Kyle Mayers on 0* off three balls – as WI are on 192-3 with 306 runs left to win in 92 overs – following the dismissals of Shamrahr Brooks (11) & Jermaine Blackwood (24) at the hands of Australia main spinner – Nathan Lyon.

So the Windies need K. Braithwaite to stay right through the very end & hopefully shock the Aussies out of nowhere – with back-up from Mayers or else Jason Holder, Joshua Da Silva & Roston Chase later on – who can all bat a bit – while Kraigg does the hard work for WI. And Australia still needs to get the job done ASAP once they come back refreshed from overnight with just a full day’s play left to finish this 1st Test on a high at 1-0 in this two-match series.

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Australia continued to build on such a huge lead for most of Day 2 yesterday where they left off from 293-2, thanks to three brilliant knocks made with the bat here at Optus Stadium in Perth. Marnus Labuschagne got his 2nd double test ton which is sensational to watch over the last day and a half – before he was caught behind shortly after on 204 by Joshua Da Silva from Kraigg Braithwaite’s off spin. 

Meanwhile, his double act Steve Smith returned to top form in a another stellar double ton that relfected Australia’s high-sky spell with the bat, as well as the partnership he & Marnus formed at the crease together. Plus, hats off to Travis Head who played really well on 99 – even though he was unlucky to be out by just one run off a potential Test 100 through the stumps also by Braithwaite. He may have been inconsistent at times over the last 12 months, but Head always have class on his side at age 28 right now that would hopefully see him stay at No.5 for another few years with the Baggy Green.

Fast forward to the 2nd innings play when Skipper Pat Cummins declared on 598-3 for Australia right after Head’s unlucky dismissal, West Indies fired off not bad with no wickets being fallen though tea & stumps on 67-0. Kraigg Braithwaite will pick up on 18 not out following his all-round display yesterday with the ball by looking to back up & hang in there, while Tagenarine Chanderpaul – who is the son of his famous father Shivnarine – has been extraordinary so far when smacking it at the other end with a few fours & one six on 47 not out. 

So the Windies may have escaped an early DRS appeal but there’s still a lot more catch-up when trying to shave down a huge run trail. However, as long as they stick to these simple basics approach planted right from the beginning, then we’ll never know where they will end up going into the final two days this weekend. And as for Australia, they should come off a hard-earned rest by being ready to do some damage with the ball & dismantle the whole Windies batting XI ASAP, after they couldn’t get away with no early wickets being taken towards the end of Day 2. It’s going to be either Australia’s brilliant restart with the ball or the Windies’s continued red-hot start that could go a long, long way when Test Cricket will resume later on Day 3 today.

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What a way to wrap the first day back of the new Australian Test Cricket season here at Optus Stadium in Perth, as Australia will pick up on Day 2 at 293-2 v West Indies.

Yes, the start has been been shaky having won the toss & chose to bat first when Dave Warner was clean-bowled early by Jayden Seales, while Usman Khawaja wasn’t bad as the other left-hand opener that helped Australia get the ball rolling until he was caught behind on 65 by Joshua Da Silva off Kyle Mayers. 

However, Marnus Labuschagne – who is our main man right now – has been exceptional all along since he came in after Warner’s early dismissal at No.3. 

Not only he got away with a half-century but also converted into a century before he’s still standing right now, having just got past the 150 mark on 154* runs not out off 270 balls. So much class there from a player who continues to make the first-drop role on his own – which has been happening for the last three years since he was thrown at the deep end after Steve Smith’s concussion at the time v England (away).

Speaking of Smith, he too played a supportive role of Labuschagne & also Australia’s turnaround during the second half of Day 1 with a 50 for himself. He will look to try and convert into another Test 100 on 59* not out off 107 balls. 

So staying a bit longer in the middle to see both Smith & Labuschagne a 100 & 200 respectively would be nice to declare Australia’s first-innings spell, before they delcare at some point on Day 2 & bring the bowlers in to do damage so they’re a few steps ahead towards wrapping up this Test match 1-0.

Meanwhile, West Indies have been stuck in a rut ever since they got away with Warner earlier yesterday. Splitting the Labuschagne-Smith stand would brighten up the start of Day 2 after a much-needed rest overnight, but then they will need to dig deeper when WI look to bowl them all out first ASAP before they will get tested with the bat where is the jury is on them to match & better Australia’s 1st innings scorecard.

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Mother Nature may have interrupted for most of today but at least we’ve seen some of the action at the Sydney Cricket Ground where Australia won the toss and elected to bat first, they are on 126-3 right now at stumps after Day 1 but it’s England who took up the early wickets especially at the expense of both of Australia’s openers (David Warner & Marcus Harris) plus Marnus Labuschagne.

Australia did fire off for a start having formed two 50-run partnerships but just pressed the panic button when they were caught behind the keepers’ gloves or the slips & couldn’t have the opportunity to make up big numbers of their own. There’s still time to turn it around though with Steve Smith in there on 6* as well as the returning Usman Khawaja at 5 in place of Travis Head on 4*.

And England credits the wet weather to their strong start with the ball, they read the off-stump well alongside a full length that saw the opposition edged straight into their hands & now they want to get Smith & Khawaja out early + the remaining tail tomorrow then they hope to produce a big total in return if England want to be closer to the box seat which hasn’t happened so far in this Ashes tour even though they already lost another series here 3-0.

#Ashes #Cricket #SydneyCricketGround #Australia #England #MarkWood #StuartBroad #JamesAnderson #DavidWarner #MarcusHarris #MarnusLabuschagne #SteveSmith #UsmanKhawaja #TestCricket

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England did a great job in this opening session on Day 2 at the MCG despite chaos surrounding off the field with COVID tests overnight, Jimmy Anderson fit and firing as always at age 38 who not only caught out Dave Warner (38) from late yesterday afternoon but also made Steve Smith (16) knick that edge straight through the stumps with great read to mix some speed & build this kind of pressure.

Hats off to his supporting seamers from Ollie Robinson & Mark Wood with the early wickets especially when Wood produced that bounce & length, he successfully got rid of the dangerman Marnus Labuschagne for 1, who felt vulnerable in the end as he edged straight to Joe Root at 1st slip.

Australia have been okay when you still have Marcus Harris in the middle at 48 as of lunch, he’s doing great so far hanging in there and should continue that progress if a 50 and 100 on home soil comes to him. But it’s disappointing for most parts when the nightwatchmen gamble didn’t pay off in Nathan Lyon (10) as well as the top-order being blown away so fast for bare single & double digit scores by the fiery English bowling attack.

Score: Australia 131-4 and trails by 54 runs.

Communication is very important where Harris and Head were lucky to escape a direct hit possibility on occasions which reflects Australia’s poor start with the bat in this 1st innings spell, it’s best to play it simple by going back to square one and shave off that run trail first before building a big total going into Day 3. England has to keep that strong start off the ball and finish the damage on Harris & Head before getting the job done on the lower-order as their new-look batting line-up still needs to be tested if they are to win this Test match.

#AUSvENG #JamesAnderson #SteveSmith #MarnusLabuschagne #NathanLyon #MarcusHarris #TravisHead #Australia #England #MCG #Cricket #MarkWood #OllieRobinson #TestCricket

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Well done to Australia on Day 1 at the MCG when they successfully done the damage after tea that ended England’s 1st innings total of 185 as they are on 61-1 at stumps with a 124 run trail behind them ahead of Day 2 tomorrow.

It’s great to see Scott Boland secure his maiden Test wicket in addition to two brilliant catches down at the rope, while Mitchell Starc scared off Bairstow that scooped straight to Cameron Green’s hands at gully before Nathan Lyon completed the remaining England tail-enders of Jack Leach & Ollie Robinson.

Looking at the bat now & it’s nice to see David Warner scoring quickfire runs but disappointed not to continue on 38 when he was caught by Zak Crawley off Jimmy Anderson, Marcus Harris is also making good progress despite having yet to score big in this Ashes Series as he hopes to prove selectors that he deserves to stay by scoring a ton tomorrow in front of his home crowd. And we’ll see what their nightwatchmen Nathan Lyon has something to offer with the bat before the top-order options come in & help Australia produce a big innings total than England.

Meanwhile at the England camp, Jonny Bairstow did his best to stay in there on 35 before he was so vulnerable by Starc that sent him back upstairs. We also saw Ollie Robinson & Jack Leach score some handy runs while it lasted, but England were already in a bad state anyway as they need their bowlers to produce the magic tomorrow like Jimmy Anderson did with Warner not long before stumps.

Getting rid of these dangermen early like Labuschagne, Steve Smith, etc could mean a lifeline for their Top 6 batsmen to rebound in the 2nd innings especially with a few changes at Opening & Middle-Order spots that will be tested once again to handle the Australian bowlers.

#AUSvENG #Ashes #Cricket #Australia #England #MelbourneCricketGround #MarcusHarris #DavidWarner #ScottBoland #NathanLyon #MitchellStarc #JimmyAnderson #JonnyBairstow #OllieRobinson #JackLeach

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Australia hopes to go one better at the Melbourne Cricket Ground & retain the Urn having won the first two tests with three matches to go in the 2021-22 Ashes Series.

It’s good that they have kept most of the winning crop in their starting XI such as David Warner in the opening spot as well as a strong top and middle order arsenal that begins with Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green (Seam All-Rounder) and Alex Carey (Keeper).

Although Marcus Harris retained the other opening spot with Warner who hasn’t found the decent numbers delivered so far, but I think it’s his make or break opportunity to thrive at his home ground in Melbourne and if doesn’t even if Australia won then it may be good time to change a different opener for the New Year’s Test in Sydney.

Then we can talk about the bowlers where Australia made two changes with Pat Cummins back for Michael Neser at 8, now it’s a tough call when Neser did very well on his unexpected Test debut in Adelaide last week at age 31 but there’s Cummins is an extremely important member of the Baggy Green side especially when he was just given the captaincy after Tim Paine resigned to take a break so Neser had to go.

Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon stays on who hopes to continue their strong start & inflict more damage to England’s batting card. And Scott Boland makes his Test debut at age 32 in place of Jhye Richardson which is a breakthrough moment for him at his home ground.

Brilliant start from Pat Cummins by the way with both of England’s openers upon his return from isolation as Australia hopes to break the partnership of Joe Root & Dawid Malan ASAP with England 35-2.

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