Australia vs New Zealand: Marnus Labuschagne builds on stellar summer with first double-hundred to take hosts past 400 on Day 2

Labuschagne scored 215 off 363 balls, with 19 boundaries and a six, before his epic innings was ended amidst a late order collapse by the hosts to be all out for 454 by tea on Saturday

The Associated Press, Jan 04, 2020 13:49:04 IST

Sydney: Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne’s stellar summer reached a new peak with his first double century before New Zealand showed great resolve on a deteriorating Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) pitch to battle their way to 63 without loss on the second day of the third Test.

Labuschagne scored 215 off 363 balls, with 19 boundaries and a six, before his epic innings was ended amidst a late order collapse by the hosts to be all out for 454 by tea on Saturday.

Australia vs New Zealand: Marnus Labuschagne builds on stellar summer with first double-hundred to take hosts past 400 on Day 2

File photo Marnus Labuschagne. AP

New Zealand openers Tom Blundell and captain Tom Latham found scoring difficult on an SCG pitch starting to show variable bounce and pace, but crucially for the tourists, finished the day with their wickets intact on a hot and at times smoky, afternoon.

Latham reached stumps unbeaten on 26, with Blundell, coming off the back of a century in Melbourne, 34 not out. Both batsmen showed patience in their stroke play and survived some frightening deliveries, especially from Pat Cummins, which unexpectedly reared up at the body.

But not for the first time this summer it was Labuschagne’s day, despite a slow crawl toward his double hundred milestone.

It took well over an hour into the middle session for Labuschagne to get the final 19 runs he needed from his 181 not out at lunch and the 25-year-old was stalled for several overs on 199 before a streaky outside edge off Colin de Grandhomme raced away for a boundary and his first double century off 346 balls.

The world’s fourth-ranked batsman has scored 837 runs in five matches, including four centuries, this summer at an incredible average of 119.6. He is also the first player to make four Test scores of 140 or more during an Australian summer.

Skipper Tim Paine, who shared a 79-run partnership with Labuschagne, scored 35 before he was bowled by de Grandhomme (3-78) to trigger a late-order collapse for the hosts.

Astle then snared Labuschagne caught and bowled and Cummins for two, either side of Wagner bowling James Pattinson (2).

Some lusty hitting from Mitchell Starc (22) saw Australia pass 450 before Wagner (3-66) hit his middle stump to end the innings.

Resuming Saturday morning at 283-3, Australia added 71 runs for the loss of two wickets before lunch in an even session.

After making five changes for this match, four of which were for illness or injury, New Zealand’s tour took another blow with news that seamer Matt Henry had broken his thumb early on the first day and Jeet Raval had taken ill.

Henry continued to bowl as the injury is to his non-bowling hand, while Raval reappeared in the field later in the first session.

Despite the latest personnel setbacks, Saturday’s first session was New Zealand’s best in the field with spinner Will Somerville bowling Matt Wade (22) in the first over the morning, before Henry had Travis Head caught behind for 10 as they limited the hosts to 71 runs in two hours.

On Friday, Labuschagne and Steve Smith (63) combined for a 156-run partnership to swing the momentum firmly toward the hosts after Paine won the toss and batted.

Australia is seeking a clean sweep after winning the first two Tests at Perth and Melbourne.

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Updated Date: Jan 04, 2020 13:49:04 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 New Zealand 3241 112
3 South Africa 3177 102
4 England 4593 102
5 Australia 3672 102
6 Sri Lanka 3795 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7364 121
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 10071 258
6 New Zealand 6056 252