Marnus Labuschagne anchored Australia’s innings in Potch scoring a magnificent maiden ODI century. Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Marnus Labuschagne anchored Australia’s innings in Potch scoring a magnificent maiden ODI century. Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

One heck of a home-coming for Aussie Marnus in Potch

By Stuart Hess in Potchefstroom Time of article published Mar 7, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG – Playing just 50 minutes from where he first picked up a cricket bat, Marnus Labuschagne anchored Australia’s innings in the third and final One-Day International here Saturday scoring a magnificent, gritty, maiden ODI century. 

The Australians were asked to bat on a scorcher of a day where the ice-cream, soft-drink and beer salesmen were very popular with the packed crowd. 

There were braais too - plenty of them, this is Potch after all - and a colourful set of Afrikaans tunes to keep the crowd energised. Amongst that support, were a group 50 strong, to support Labuschagne. The group included his grandfather, some aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. 

It was a larger contingent than came through to Bloemfontein - where he got a first baller - and they were certainly excited as he got to the three figure landmark, giving him an enthusiastic standing ovation amidst generous applause from the rest of the crowd, who also made sure to remind Labuschagne, that in Potch, he wasn’t ‘La-boo-shane.’

The 25-year-old’s teammates in the away dressing room were even more appreciative of his efforts than his family. Australia’s innings was a ‘stop-start’ affair because of a two-paced pitch and some good accurate bowling by the home team. 

David Warner was dismissed thanks to an excellent delivery by Anrich Nortje that bounced and moved away from the left-hander, nudging the edge and giving Quinton de Kock an easy catch.

South Africa made two changes to the side that wrapped up the series in Bloemfontein on Wednesday with Lutho Sipamla replacing Lungi Ngidi and Daryn Dupavillon, getting his international debut after Tabraiz Shamsi had to be by his wife’s side for the birth of the couple’s first child, and Beuran Hendricks took ill.

Dupavillon’s first international wicket was a big one too, the Australian captain Aaron Finch driving the ball to David Miller, who took a very good low catch. At 55/3 following the dismissal of Steve Smith, Australia needed to steady the ship and Labuschagne did so perfectly, running hard and defending stoutly.

There were critical partnerships of 81 with D’arcy Short (26) for the fourth wicket, 53 for the fifth with Mitchell Marsh (32) and then 64 with Jhye Richardson (24*) to give Australia’s bowlers something to defend.

Labuschagne was bowled off the penultimate ball of the innings, having scored a run-a-ball 108 that included eight fours. It was a fine effort that was energetically celebrated by the player and appreciated by the crowd, the majority of whom rose to their feet when he left the field.

It was one heck of a home-coming. 

Australia 254/7



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