Australia's batsman Marnus Labuschagne reacts after reaching his century during the 3rd and final One Day International cricket match between South Africa and Australia at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom. Photo: AP Photo/Themba Hadebe
Australia's batsman Marnus Labuschagne reacts after reaching his century during the 3rd and final One Day International cricket match between South Africa and Australia at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom. Photo: AP Photo/Themba Hadebe

Labuschagne excited to play in front of SA family and scoring a 'special' hundred

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Mar 7, 2020

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POTCHEFSTROOM – Marnus Labuschagne described making his first One-Day century as “very special,” not just for him, but also a group of about 50 family and friends who turned up to Senwes Park on Saturday to watch him.

Some of the gloss was taken off the performance by the fact that Australia lost the third and final ODI to South Africa by six wickets, but Labuschagne was still able to crack a smile afterwards. 

“It was amazing, the excitement of it, there was 50 of my family here and for them to see that moment, my first One-Day hundred, was very special for me and for them as well,” said the 25 year old.

Labuschagne grew up just 50 kilometres west of Potchefstroom, in Klerksdorp where he first picked up a cricket bat and got family and friends to throw balls at him. His father, who works in the mining industry was offered a job in Brisbane when Labuschagne was 10 and the family moved there, where he continued his cricket development, eventually earning a Test call up and donning the ‘baggy green,’ in 2018.

He made a run-a-ball 108 on Saturday that included eight fours, his knock holding the Australian innings together, although the final total of 254/7 was insufficient because there was too little support from the rest of the touring team’s batsmen. 

Marnus Labuschagne plays a shot during the 3rd and final One Day International cricket match between South Africa and Australia. Photo: AP Photo/Themba Hadebe

Among Labuschagne’s guests were his grandparents, who he said have supported his career throughout, often staying up through the early hours of the morning to watch him play when State matches in Australia have been streamed on-line.

“Both my grandparents were here today, it’s so special the love and support I’ve gotten from them for a very long time now, since I started playing cricket and then when I first started for Queensland - they were always interested, always cared.”

“It’s really nice to perform in front of them especially after I got a duck in the (second match). They are both amazing, it’s really special to have had them here. I’m sure my grandma would have shed some tears.”

His century was greeted with a standing ovation from a majority of a packed out crowd here, and there was little animosity directed towards him, as has been the case when the likes of Kevin Pietersen first returned to play for their adopted country against the country of their birth here. 

“I wasn’t nervous at all,” he said about what he expected from the crowd “I was kind of excited to come back to the place where I grew up. It was nice to hear the cheering.

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You never know how those milestones are going to go, if the crowd love you or hate, maybe today there was a bit of both - a bit of love/hate. It was exciting to play in front of them.”

@shockerhess

 

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