‘Very disappointed’: Marnus heroics can’t save Bulls
MARBUS Labuschagne is seeing cricket balls as if they are pineapples but to his struggling teammates they suddenly seem as small as green peas.
The gap between what Labuschagne is doing for Queensland and what is happening at the other end is widening by the innings, candid testimony to all those platitudes about how confidence can make a player indestructible or a lack of it can reduce him to rubble.
Labuschagne's classy maiden one-day century (135 off 127 balls) could not stop the Queensland Bulls (7-296) being pipped by South Australia with two balls to spare after a hurricane cameo from Adam Zampa (35 off 15) plucked a Marsh Cup match out of the fire at the Gabba.
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The failures of Usman Khawaja (5), Matt Renshaw (0) and Joe Burns (0) within five balls to lively seamer Wes Agar again left Queensland's international fringe-dwellers gasping for air in a difficult season.
It was only a 50-over game but every innings matters in the pressurised bat-off before the first Test against Pakistan at the Gabba next month.
It appears Khawaja will miss the first Test, Burns still has time to get there but Renshaw is a long way back.
Labuschagne, who raised his century with a six, is in the form of his life, rescuing Queensland from 4-24 as he had bailed them out all summer, this time with help from Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson and Ben Cutting.
He has carried his great Ashes form into red and white ball competitions in Australia though after a lengthy string of half-centuries this was the breakthrough ton he was craving.
There was no celebration after stumps though as he processed the shock loss.
"I'm very disappointed. I feel flat,'' Labuschagne said.
"Even me getting out in the last over might have cost five or 10 runs. When you don't win the game it's like you haven't done the job.
"It was nice to get that century but I am very disappointed to lose this one. I love getting in the contest and standing up when we need it.
"I think playing in the Ashes has helped me because you are put under high stress and pressure situations all the time.''
With his leg-spin and energy in the field, Labuschagne shapes as an appealing package for the Australian 50-over team.
"I have always enjoyed white-ball cricket," he said. "It is like a chess game moving the field around.''