Ashes 2021-22: Labuschagne wants to capitalise after two reprieves on first day in Adelaide

By Sports Desk December 16, 2021

Marnus Labuschagne is aiming to capitalise on England's missed opportunities after Australia closed on 221-2 after the opening day of the second Test in Adelaide.

David Warner (95) and Labuschagne (95 not out) produced gutsy performances after stand-in captain Steve Smith opted to bat on Thursday, with Australia already boasting a 1-0 series lead.

Smith – captaining for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in 2018 - was taking the reins due to Pat Cummins isolating after the fast bowler came into contact with a COVID-19 positive member of the public in a restaurant on Wednesday.

Smith's winning toss looked fruitful as Labuschagne batted with David Warner for most of the day in a 172-run second-wicket stand – the pair's sixth century partnership in Tests - no other duo has scored more runs since Australia's number three debuted in October 2018.

Warner subsequently fell in avoidable fashion, caught at cover by Stuart Broad – who earlier dismissed Marcus Harris – off the bowling of Ben Stokes in the final session of the first day-night Test.

Labuschagne was also fortunate to remain undefeated, given he was twice dropped by Jos Buttler – on 21 and 95 – the second of which by all means a regulation chance off James Anderson's bowling.

Aware of the opportunity ahead of him, Labuschagne now wants to cash in with Smith on England's lack of clinical catching when it mattered.

"That was massive for the team just getting through that period, me and Steve [Smith]," Labuschagne told reporters. "It sets us up really well to get a big first-innings score tomorrow.

"The last bit of play there I just wavered a bit where I played that shot and got dropped. I was a bit in disbelief, but it's my job to make sure I capitalise on that now.

"I gave them a chance there and I gave them a chance earlier, going down leg, so I've got to make sure that tomorrow I give away no chances."

Labuschagne reached 2,000 Test runs in just his 34th innings, with only four players – Michael Hussey, Herbert Sutcliffe, George Headley and Don Bradman – achieving the landmark in fewer outings.

But the right-hander was quick to credit his partner for much of the day Warner, who once again fell short with three figures in his sight.

"He [Warner] batted beautifully today, how he went about his innings and his patience," Labuschagne added. "Especially early, I think he went about 20 balls without scoring and then glimpses of the attacking David Warner we know.

"I feel bad for him missing out today but 95, he'd take that at the start of the day."

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