Australia’s ODI tour of South Africa has not gone to plan at all.
After winning the T20 series 2-1, the Aussies went into the 50-over games with high hopes.
But the side, which was on the verge of falling to a second straight series clean sweep in ODIs in South Africa, has been given some hope with a brilliant maiden ODI century from Marnus Labuschagne.
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Labuschagne was born in South Africa but his family emigrated to Australia when he was 10.
And after the incredible start to his Test career, he was a shoe-in for the ODI, where he’s now claimed his maiden ton.
It didn’t look like heading that way after Australian, who had hardly made a whimper in the series, took a more timid approach.
After a lightning start off David Warner’s bat in game two, the more circumspect star was caught fishing, caught behind for four in the fourth over as Australia struggled to get going.
Steve Smith went for 20 in an unlucky DRS review, with the ball just clipping the leg stump, before Aaron Finch was dismissed for 22 off 48 to a cracker of a catch to South African star David Miller.
Daryn Dupavillon was the bowler with Miller diving forward to take the catch at short cover, the South African’s first wicket on his ODI debut.
Marnus Labuschagne, in front of family and friends in Potchefstroom, which about 50km from his home town, made up for his golden duck in game two, playing a lone hand for Australia.
He and D’Arcy Short combined for an 81-run stand before Short chipped to short mid-wicket.
But it was Mitchell Marsh’s wicket that was truly special.
On 32 off 41 balls, Labuschagne was on strike and seemingly pierced the field with a cover drive, only for Miller to dive across, stop the ball and fling it back at the stumps with a backhand throw.
David Miller’s moment of brilliance.Source:FOX SPORTS
“Miller again, brilliant, absolutely sensational, that is out of this world, my goodness,” the commentators said. “That is amazing fielding, it really is.”
Marsh was only about halfway down the wicket with Labuschagne hanging his partner out to dry.
Alex Carey was bowled by JJ Smuts soon after for a third-ball duck.
Labuschagne was on 70 at the time and Australian cricket’s golden boy took over.
He brought up his maiden ODI century off 100 balls, scoring the final 30 runs of his century in 15 balls.
What an innings for Marnus Labuschagne, the emotions were raw in front of the 'home crowd'.
? Stream #RSAvAUS: https://t.co/cWNjz07siF
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“Written in the stars, a homecoming for Marnus Labuschagne, prodigal son,” the commentators said just before he brought up the incredible milestone.
“A first hundred, so apt that he should get it here, not too far from home. This place no will doubt hold a very special place in his heart.”
It wasn’t too much longer for Labuschagne, who was bowled in the final over off Anrich Nortje, as he tried to pull a fuller ball to fine leg for a run a ball 108.
It got Australia to 7/254 at the end of the innings.
What a moment for Marnus Labuschagne.Source:FOX SPORTS
After the innings, Labuschagne said he felt like he “was shanking them there for a bit”.
“I was struggling there through the middle, couldn’t get in an rhythm but we talked about it during the week, just taking it as deep as we can and that’s what I tried to do,” he said.
“It was amazing, I can’t really describe it any other way. When I came back for that two and I made it, I don’t think about what I was going to do, I think I carried on like a bit of a goose but it was amazing. To have 50 of my family members up there from all around South Africa, it was very special.”
Despite toughing out the innings, Labuschagne still felt bad for running Marsh out and said he’d apologised.
Asked about representing his adopted country against his native land, Labuschagne said
“I left so young, I love representing Australia, it’s my country,” he said. “Although I was born in South Africa, and there’s a little spot in my heart for the country, but I’m Australian through and through and it’s amazing to put the score on the board for them today.”
Australian fans were quick to get behind the Aussie star as he continues to pile on the runs.
Marnus outstanding knock @CricketAus ????
What a weapon Labuschagne is! He’s got to be exhausted. He’s the only reason we’ve got a half decent score to defend. #SAvAus
Another magic moment in the career of Marnus Labuschagne here in Potchefstroom. Maiden ODI hundred in front of 50 of his friends and family. Home town Klerksdorp just 50 clicks up the road. His celebration magnificent. Lifts Australia to 254 @NewsCorpCricket
Well played Marnus. ODI 100 on home turf. ❤
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