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Labuschagne, Head shine bright under Adelaide Oval lights

Marnus Labuschagne has again dominated the West Indies with the bat, leading Australia to 3-330 at stumps on the first day of the second Test at the Adelaide Oval.

Marnus Labuschagne has again dominated the West Indies with the bat, leading Australia to 3-330 at stumps on the first day of the second Test at the Adelaide Oval. Photo: AAP

Marnus Labuschagne has set the foundation for a big nine months as centuries from he and Travis Head took Australia to 3-330 at stumps on night one against West Indies in Adelaide.

With the biggest year of Australian cricket this century ahead, Labuschagne continued his sparkling start to the summer with an unbeaten 120 making for his third straight three-figure score.

Head followed him, bringing up his century 20 minutes before the close and going to stumps on 114 not out as the pair chalked up a 199-run fourth-wicket stand.

Combined, they have batted Australia into a dominant position to press for a 2-0 series victory, against a West Indies attack lacking consistency and fitness.

Such has been Labuschagne’s dominance, his 428-run tally for the series after scores of 204 and 104no in Perth is already the third highest by an Australian in a two-Test series.

And while he offered chances during his innings at Perth, there was no such shakiness against a hapless and injury-prone Windies in Adelaide.

The tourists’ plans to bump the right-hander and set the tone for Barbados-born English quick Jofra Archer in the Ashes fell flat, with Labuschagne looking completely at ease.

With less pace in the Adelaide wicket than in Perth, West Indies went short more rarely and when they did bounce Labuschagne he pulled the ball around the corner with ease.

He and Head cover-drove the spinners to the boundary at will as the Windies tried to rush through the overs to get the second new ball under lights, while also picking gaps around the corner.

The Queenslander cut well behind square, while his shot of the day was a glorious on-drive down the ground off Devon Thomas.

Head was also strong through the offside, playing with his customary power when the Windies offered too much width.

The South Australian is no certainty to tour India in February and March after tough stints in Asia this year, but his 99 in Perth followed by this innings will not hurt his cause.

Labuschagne, meanwhile, will be at the heart of Australia’s big 2023.

Officials well know that if he can keep his form into tours of India and England next year, Australia will go a long way to drought-breaking series wins in those countries.

His run now extends to four centuries in five innings, after also bringing up three figures against Sri Lanka in Galle last July.

Labuschagne and Head had come together after Usman Khawaja fell victim to a tight lbw call to Thomas on 62 and Smith was caught-and-bowled for a duck shortly after with the score at 3-131.

David Warner also came and went quickly for 21 after a day in the headlines, in one of the few moments of joy for a West Indies side that lost debutant Marquino Mindley to a hamstring injury after four players were ruled out before the toss.

Khawaja’s knock made him just the third Australian in history to pass 1000 runs in a calendar year when aged 35 or older, joining Adam Voges in 2016 and Sir Donald Bradman in 1948.

-AAP

Topics: cricket
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