Steve Smith has been shattering records ever since his return to the Australian Test team in the Ashes 2019. His 774 runs in the series at an average of 110 and three centuries helped him become the No.1 ranked batsman in the longest format. His consistency has made him the fastest to 7000 runs, breaking a 73-year record set by England's Wally Hammond. His average of 64 in Tests and an average of close to 100 in 2019 alone makes him a class apart. However, when he was dismissed for 36 by Shaheen Afridi on day 2 of the Pink Ball Test in Adelaide, he was dethroned in grand style by Marnus Labuschagne. Labuschagne, who smashed his second consecutive Test century after breaking his rut in Brisbane, will now sit on top of the list for most runs in Tests in 2019.
Smith needed to score fifty in order to go past Labuschagne's tally but his cheap dismissal ensured that he will stay in first position potentially until the start of the Test series against New Zealand. Labuschagne has scored 829 runs in nine Tests at an average of 63 while Smith now has 814 runs at an average of 90 in just six Tests. All the stats are taken until the end of the first innings in Adelaide. The first Test between Australia and New Zealand at Perth, which is also a Pink Ball Test, will be played on December 12.
This completes a remarkable story for Labuschagne, who became the first concussion substitute in Test history when Steve Smith was felled by a 92 mph bouncer from Jofra Archer during the 2019 Ashes Test in Lord's. Following his arrival at a tense period, Labuschagne responded with a calm and gritty 59 as Australia saved the Lord's Test. After that, Labuschagne responded with three consecutive fifties and his calming influence at No.3 ensured Australia would not lose a series in England for the first time since 2001.
Labuschagne entered the big league when he blasted 185 in the first Test against Pakistan in Brisbane and he shared a 361-run stand for the second wicket with David Warner as he notched up his second consecutive ton. His exploits and stand with Warner have put Australia in a strong position. Despite falling for 162, Labuschagne signalled his hunger to score more in the coming matches.
"A great start on home soil, a great start to this game. Cricket is a funny game, you make 162 still you walk off disappointing. I enjoyed batting with Warner. We have the same intensity. I have made few technical changes to my batting and they have worked. I am trying to learn as much as I can," Labuschagne said after he was dismissed.
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