Australia opener Usman Khawaja, who made a gritty 65 runs on day one of first Test against the West Indies, was in praise of fellow Queenslander Marnus Labuschagne, calling him a “terrific” player who always has the belief of scoring runs “at some stage” in the match.
Labuschagne, who ended day one at 154 not out, was eventually dismissed for 204 on day two of the ongoing match at Perth Stadium, immediately after bringing up his double ton. Despite admitting that he wasn’t at his best at the end of day one, Labuschagne hanged around to get to the three-figure mark.
“You could almost say he is due (to) the way Marnus plays, he is a terrific player who you know is going to score runs at some stage so it was great to see. He batted beautifully yesterday and it’s nice to see a smile on his face because he deserves it because he works extremely hard,” said Khawaja on SEN Test Cricket show before Day 2 play.
With the West Indies’ bowling attack being disciplined in the opening sessions of day one, Khawaja pointed out that he and Labuschagne had to bide their time after David Warner fell cheaply, before dominating the bowlers.
“It sucks for the batsman (getting clogged down) because you want to score runs and you want to do it freely but sometimes you have to put your pride and ego out of the way.
“Me and Marnus pretty much did that for the whole first session, it got a little bit easier in the second session but they still (the West Indies) bowled relatively well and then obviously I missed out in that last session but Marnus did (play) and he certainly cashed in.”
Following in the footsteps of Labuschagne has been premier batter Steve Smith, who also hit an unbeaten double hundred later in day two of the match. Khawaja felt that Smith might just be warming up for another big home summer.
“Even before the start of the match you could just tell that he was comfortable with how he was batting, I don’t what happens in the mind of Steve Smith but he is the best Test cricketer I’ve played with.”