Labuschagne's drive for runs made in Wales

Scott Bailey
Marnus Labuschagne's upsurge in Test form was sparked by a County stint with Glamorgan in Wales

Marnus Labuschagne's insatiable desire for runs can be traced back to three months before he became Steve Smith's concussion replacement at Lord's.

The star of the third Test in Sydney, Labuschagne's summer of big scores has netted him 837 runs - the most of any Australian in a five-Test home summer.

His 215 at the SCG against New Zealand on Saturday was also the highest Test score by a Queenslander in more than 16 years.

Most look back the right-hander's form to the moment he replaced Smith at Lord's in the Ashes in August as the moment Labuschagne's career changed.

But it was three months before that when his golden run began with Glamorgan, where he became the first player to reach 1000 runs in the 2019 County season.

Labuschagne averaged just 31.95 in first-class cricket when he arrived in Wales last April.

But his record since is unmatched.

In the nine months that have followed he has hit 2627 first-class runs at an average of 69.13, having also played more days of elite cricket than any other player last year.

"There is no better way to learn your game than playing games," Labuschagne said.

"I had the opportunity to do that in England. And score hundreds and get consistent over there.

"It was something I hadn't been able to do in Shield cricket."

Small changes in Labuschagne's technique have been credited to his English stint, including straightening his bat path.

In 18 innings Labuschagne hit five centuries for Glamorgan, with his highest a 182 against Sussex in late May.

But it was also from that innings in Hove the 25-year-old learned perhaps his biggest lesson of 2019.

Labuschagne was chastised by Glamorgan coach Matthew Maynard for leaving runs on the field and not turning his hundreds into doubles.

So when he got his opportunity at the SCG on Saturday, after three times falling between 140 and 190 this summer, he wasn't going to let it go.

"He (Maynard) has sent me a few messages when I threw away a couple of my opportunities to get a double," Labuschagne said.

"He said that to me a few times, one day he said 'there's only a few times in your life that you can make a triple and you threw it away today, well done.

"I was like: 'That's a bit stiff'. But he's been great.

"Even those small things, as a player sometimes you don't realise that in the moment.

"Because in the moment, you are playing, especially on a high score you are playing with a bit more freedom instead of realising the opportunity you do have."