Australia are currently battling against next-door neighbours, and rivals, New Zealand. The two teams are playing in the first of three tests at the Optus Stadium in Western Australia. Sometime during the match, former captain Steve Smith was forced to dodge a bouncer from Colin de Grandhomme
Admittedly, Smith’s immediate reaction to nearly getting brained, was quite hilarious. Later on, it would seem that de Grandhomme won the mind-game battle. This was because Smith would later depart, after scoring 43 runs.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 12, 2019
However, the real hero of the day for the Australian team was Marnus Labuschagne. The 25-year old rose to prominence when he came on as a concussion substitute for Steve Smith. Since then, his star has continued to rise, with scores of 185, 162 and and unbeaten 110 in his last three Test innings. This makes him the third Australian batsman to achieve this after Charles Macartney in 1926 and Don Bradman in 1937-38.
Admittedly, Labuschagne kicked off his season ranked as low as 110 in the Test rankings. However, with his dream season, the South African-born player vaulted up the ranks to 8th on the list.
Coming in place of Smith against England, Labuschagne made a crucial contribution of 59 runs. That scintillating performance was enough to earn him a permanent place in the side even after Smith’s return. Labuschagne went on to score 74, 80, 67, 11, 48 and 14 in his first Ashes series to become an integral part of Australia’s batting unit.
At Perth Stadium, at Perth Stadium, Labuschagne and Travis Head were unbeaten on 110 and 20 runs respectively to help Australia grind out 248-4 against New Zealand on the opening Day. Meanwhile, opener David Warner contributed 43 runs, Matthew Wade notched up 12 runs, with Joe Burns adding another nine runs to the tally. So, at the end of the opening day, the home team were on 248 for the loss of four wickets.