Marnus Labuschagne became Test cricket’s leading run-scorer for 2019 as he and David Warner hit a record pink-ball partnership to drive Australia to a commanding 302 for one against Pakistan.
On a dominant opening day at the Adelaide Oval, Warner and Labuschagne both hit big hundreds as part of an unbeaten 294-run stand. Warner finished not out on 166, batting gloriously to hit back-to-back hundreds for the sixth time in his career after his 154 at the Gabba.
Labuschagne’s century was also his second in succession and allowed him to overtake Steve Smith at the top of the Test run charts – his unbeaten 126 taking him to 793 for the calendar year.
After Joe Burns fell early for just four, Warner and Labuschagne did not offer any real chances for the rest of the evening against an ill-disciplined Pakistan attack. Things could have been far worse for the tourists too had rain not washed away 17 overs for the day in a two-hour delay either side of the tea break.
The pair’s stand was the highest in pink-ball history, overtaking the 248 runs England’s Joe Root and Alastair Cook combined for against West Indies in 2017. It also became the highest second-wicket stand of all time for Australia against Pakistan, surpassing Mark Taylor and Justin Langer’s 279 in Peshawar in 1998.
Warner played wonderfully through the offside, hitting 13 of his 19 boundaries either on the cover drive or cut shot. Pakistan bowled too short to the left-hander, who only slowed as he neared three figures before reaching his ton from 156 balls courtesy of overthrows.
Labuschagne, meanwhile, was sublime off his legs. Patient early on, he then hit almost half his runs through the midwicket region while also late-cutting the spinners behind square. He brought up his century when he turned Yasir Shah off his pads legside, triggering an euphoric celebration before he and Warner embraced. Labuschagne has now hit scores of above 50 in six of his past nine innings.
The tourists, however, were their own worst enemies. They bowled poorly, with debutant Muhammad Musa regularly being far too short and the recalled Mohammad Abbas having virtually no impact. They bowled part-time off-spinner Iftikhar Ahmed in the second over after the dinner break, when the pink ball is hardest to face under lights, and they were generally poor in the field, missing run-out chances and offering up an extra five runs in overthrows.
Shaheen Shah Afridi also produced two howlers on the boundary, one time kicking the ball over the rope and at another point running the wrong way on a ball hit straight at him. He did however, provide the only highlight for Pakistan with ball in hand, causing Burns to edge behind cheaply.
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