Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne has struck three consecutive Test centuries this summer, with his latest knock coming against NZ in Perth.
Rising star Marnus Labuschagne is fast becoming a Steve Smith clone – with the addition of a dose of bubblegum for good measure.
Labuschagne has been in irresistible form this summer, plundering three straight centuries to lift his Test average to 60. The 25-year-old’s latest knock was an unbeaten 110 off 202 balls on the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand at Optus Stadium.
The comparisons between Labuschagne and Smith go far beyond just the mountains of runs they score. Both players are fidgety at the crease and self-confessed cricket nerds with plenty of quirks.
The pair have formed a close friendship in recent months, with some even going as far as labelling it as a Bromance. Labuschagne is absorbing Smith’s advice like a sponge, and Australian cricket is benefiting.
Against NZ on Thursday, Labuschagne struck 14 fours and a six in a near-flawless display. The innings also featured a lot of chewing gum – a calming tactic that Labuschagne turned to last year.
“It was something that I just used because at times when you’re playing so much cricket, you feel like you need something to get you going and get you into the contest,” Labuschagne said.
“And sort of over a long period of time it’s actually helped me relax in between, because subconsciously I’m blowing bubbles.
“It seems to be helping me and keeping my mind at rest in between balls.”
Smith battled hard to score 43 off 164 balls on Thursday, combining with Labuschagne for a crucial 132-run stand. The pair meet for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and coffee off the field to talk about cricket.
But there was little chatter while they were batting together.
“If there’s a bit of swing or something unforeseen is going on, we would discuss it there,” Labuschagne said.
“But in terms of out there, we’re not really talking that much.
“He’s working stuff out by himself. I mean he’s the best batsman in the world for a reason.”
Labuschagne only came back into the Test squad when he was called up to be Smith’s concussion sub during the Ashes.
The classy right-hander has flourished batting at No.3, and says it’s a position he wants to keep.
“I really enjoy batting at No.3,” he said.
“Sitting and watching is quite draining.”
Australia will resume at 4-248 on Day 2.