The magic of Marnus knows no bounds

Marnus Labuschagne's purple patch of form has been thrown in to sharp focus by a staggering statistic, one of many brought up on day one of the first Test in Perth.

In an innings that was his third century in a row, a sixth successive first dig half century in Test matches, and in which he brought up 1000 Test runs in just 14 months since his debut, Labuschagne also, with less fanfare, went past 5000 first-class runs - with more than half of them coming in this calendar year.

The Queenslander made his first class debut in late 2014 in a Sheffield Shield match against South Australia. Between then and the start of this year he struck 2521 runs.

 

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Marnus Labuschagne’s 2019 has been remarkable.
Marnus Labuschagne’s 2019 has been remarkable.

His unbeaten 110 on Thursday in Perth gave him 2538 for the year from a career total of 5069.

An innings, also, in which he played the lead hand in a partnership with the best batsman in the world.

If one player is emblematic of the upturn in Australian fortunes in 2019 it is Labuschagne, now a lock at No.3 and part of a top order that went from shambolic in England to rock solid at home.

And on the evidence of this early summer he's only getting better.

 

 

LATE RECOGNITION FOR SNUBBED REDMOND

Imagine scoring 107 and 56 on your Test debut and never being invited to play again.

It happened to New Zealand batsman Rodney Redmond who has been living in Perth for more than three decades and presented fast man Lockie Ferguson with his first Test cap at Optus Stadium before play in the first Test.

Redmond scored a hurricane century in his Test debut against Pakistan before his home crowd in Auckland in 1973 then followed up with a half century in the second innings but was squeezed out by Jeff Parker on the subsequent England tour and never played another Test.

There were rumours Redmond, who was short sighted, was having problems with his new contact lenses but he did score three 50s in the tour games in England so he wasn't seeing them too badly.

 

Lockie Ferguson was handed his debut cap by Rodney Redmond. Picture: Getty
Lockie Ferguson was handed his debut cap by Rodney Redmond. Picture: Getty

 

DAR SEES THE LIGHT

Aleem Dar set a new record for umpiring at Perth on Thursday. Standing for the first Test between Australia and New Zealand took his career total to 129, overtaking Steve Bucknor on the all time list.

"It is a truly amazing feeling and a high point of my life'" he said before walking out.

Dar made his international umpiring debut in an ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka way back in 2000, and had the best seat - metaphorically only - in the house to witness to some of the game's iconic moments, including Brian Lara's 400 not out and South Africa's epic chase of Australia's 434 in an ODI in Johannesburg in 2006.

Despite his exemplary record otherwise, Dar was suspended, alongside Bucknor and others, for the farce of the last three overs of Australia's 2007 World Cup win over Sri Lanka being played in near darkness. His record breaking stand on Thursday went in to the night, too, but this time with floodlights to help, of course.

 

 

WARNER DENIED ANOTHER RECORD SHOT

After David Warner was denied the chance to go on and challenge Brian Lara's record 400 Test score in Adelaide, another potential top mark slipped out of his hands in Perth. Or, rather in to the safe hands of Neil Wagner.

Warner needed 280 more runs without losing his wicket to beat Adam Voges's world record 614 between Test dismissals, from the 2015-16 season when a double ton against New Zealand followed by a century and double against West Indies.

A wonder catch from Wagner left him 237 short.

Still, it hasn't been a bad summer so far for the opener, with 819 international runs coming at the cost of only three dismissals.

 

Australian batsman David Warner has again missed out on a chance at a record.
Australian batsman David Warner has again missed out on a chance at a record.

 

STEWART'S TRIBUTE TO ROCKET MANN

Former England captain Alec Stewart always maintained a lengthy stint with the Midland-Guildford club in Perth was the making of him.

Just to prove the point Stewart flew from London to Perth this week to attend the funeral of former Test leg-spinner and local district club legend Tony Mann who died after a seven-year battle with cancer.

"Rocket'' Mann was a popular figure and a crowd of around 400 enjoyed many colourful tales relayed by former Test batsman John Inverarity who delivered a 40-minute eulogy.