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Marnus Labuschagne: The super-sub who valiantly negotiated a presumable Australian defeat

Aryan Surana
ANALYST
Feature
19 Aug 2019, 18:20 IST

Marnus Labuschagne struck flush on the grill by a menacing short delivery by Jofra Archer.
Marnus Labuschagne struck flush on the grill by a menacing short delivery by Jofra Archer.

The best things in life happen unexpectedly. Luxuriously indulging in the scrumptious cuisines on the Lord's menu, efficiently carrying refreshments for the bushwhacked playing eleven, and witnessing run-machine Steve Smith pulverize the hosts churning out gargantuan knocks was Marnus Labuschagne.

However, all of a sudden, he found himself ducking ferocious bouncers snared at 90mph from debutant Jofra Archer. Drafted in as a concussion substitute for the batting aficionado Steven Smith, who was unfortunately struck on his neck by a menacing bumper by the Barbadian paceman, Labuschagne produced a valiant 59 on the ultimate day to ensure a respectable deadlock for the tourists.

Struggling at 19/2, having lost veteran David Warner and southpaw Usman Khwaja cheaply, Australia, in desperate pursuit of a stalemate, found themselves in extremely choppy waters.

Joining opener Cameron Bancroft in the middle with a tough ask up his sleeve, Labuschagne was welcomed to the crease with a vicious bouncer from Archer, though, unlike Smith, the dynamic right-hander was up in a flash, prepared to brave the consequential delivery.

Playing and missing initially against some tremendous fast bowling, the 23-year-old soon discovered his groove, eventually middling the ball to perfection. Unperturbed by the exigency of the situation, he batted fluently against the likes of Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, and Chris Woakes, bowling at the top of their potential.

The youngster seemed to be in optimal control as the innings progressed, focusing on the task at hand like a monk with a fresh positive approach. Dispatching the occasional looseners on offer with utmost disdain in his 100-ball stay, the exuberant middle-order batsman kept the scoreboard ticking as he gained a foothold to prevent a reprehensible defeat.

Predominantly anchoring the resurgence, Labuschagne stroked eight magnificent boundaries, elegantly laden with resolution, before perishing to left-arm spinner Jack Leach in a weird fashion. Travis Head provided ideal support to Labuschagne with an unbeaten 42, quashing any English yearn of an illustrious triumph.

The courageous display of batsmanship from the prodigious swashbuckler wrested the equilibrium in favor to salvage Aussie pride, from warming the bench to drawing the match.

The astonishing narrative of Marnus Labuschagne rekindles the distinguished quote by John Lennon, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

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Also read – Ashes Lowest total defended

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