Marnus Labuschagne betters Don Bradman in historic Test cricket feat

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·Sports Editor
·3-min read
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  • Don Bradman
    Australian cricketer (1908–2001)
  • Marnus Labuschagne
    South African-born Australian cricketer
Marnus Labuschagne, pictured here after reaching his half-century against England.
Marnus Labuschagne celebrates after reaching his half-century against England. (Photo by Mark Brake - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Marnus Labuschagne has broken Sir Donald Bradman's record for most scores of 50-plus in Test cricket through the first 20 matches of a career.

Labuschagne became the fifth-fastest man to reach 2000 runs in Test cricket on Thursday, joining an illustrious list of cricket greats.

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His unbeaten 95 on Thursday gave Australia the upper hand in the second Ashes Test after a 172-run stand with David Warner helped them go to stumps at 2-221.

The 27-year-old was patient early as England sent down a barrage of short balls, before becoming willing to take on a leg-side field that was often littered with six men.

Labuschagne announced himself to the cricket world as Steve Smith's concussion substitute in the 2019 Ashes series, and hasn't looked back since.

The Queenslander has now established himself as Australia's best No.3 since Ricky Ponting.

Of the 3068 men to have played Test cricket in its 144-year history, only Bradman, George Headley, Herbert Sutcliffe and Mike Hussey have reached 2000 runs faster than Labuschagne's 34 innings.

But even more incredibly, Labuschagne's 17 scores of 50-plus are more than any other player in history after 20 Tests.

Bradman previously held the record with 15, while Brain Lara and Sir Vivian Richards both had 13.

Labuschagne's Ashes average also now stands at 65.25 - the fifth highest of all-time behind Bradman, Eddie Paynter, Sid Barnes and Sutcliffe.

England fluff their chances to remove Labuschagne

However England did have their chances to remove him cheaply on Thursday.

Their short-ball plan should have come to fruition when he edged a hook shot to Jos Buttler from Ben Stokes on 21.

However the England wicket-keeper tried to take the catch one-handed and put it down.

He also pulled one just over Stuart Broad's hands at square leg on the same score off Stokes.

Finally he edged Jimmy Anderson behind in the final overs before stumps, only for Buttler to put down the simplest of chances.

"Jos he is going to hurt tonight," assistant coach Ian Thorpe said after Thursday's play.

Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, pictured here after day one of the second Ashes Test.
Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne leave the field after day one of the second Ashes Test. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

"But he's going to have to get out of bed and come again and enjoy his day tomorrow because that is what Test cricket is all about.

"Everyone ... who has played this game drops a catch, is always disappointed.

"But he's a human being ... you can keep magnificently throughout the day but if you drop a catch, it gets highlighted.

"We will get around him and try to be philosophical about it as well because I think you have to be."

Labuschagne was at least able to ride his luck after that as England's plan became less and less effective.

The right-hander crunched Anderson through mid-wicket with arguably the shot of the day, as he signalled his intentions straight after tea.

He hit two more through the region in the final session, as 42 of his runs came behind square on the leg-side.

with AAP

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