Pujara century provides inspiration for Labuschagne

By Sports Desk January 03, 2019

Cheteshwar Pujara's unbeaten century on the first day of the fourth Test between India and Australia in Sydney provided Marnus Labuschagne with some inspiration.

India will clinch a 3-1 series victory if they triumph at the SCG and Pujara helped them reach stumps on Thursday with an imposing total of 303-4 by scoring a masterful 130 from 250 balls.

Labuschagne, making just his third Test appearance, will bat at number three like Pujara – a decision that had been met with surprise among former players like Ian Chappell and Shane Warne.

The all-rounder will be relying on his experience of playing in the position at Sheffield Shield level but acknowledged his India counterpart provided a valuable lesson on day one.

Labuschagne said: "He was very classy, wasn't he? His time, his patience around the crease and just the way he batted was very good. I think it's something I personally can take a lot from. 

"He just batted a lot of time and I think that's something he's done through this whole series. 

"That's what we're going to need to do. All our batters are going to need to step up and put a big score on the board.

"I've pretty much batted most of my time at Queensland at three. It does give me confidence going out in a position that I'm comfortable with. 

"It's going to be a good challenge and one I'm looking forward to."

India opener Mayank Agarwal shared a 116-run with Pujara after KL Rahul fell to Josh Hazlewood on nine in just the second over.

"It's great to watch him bat from the other end and keep watching him bat," Agarwal said of Pujara, who brought up his third century of the series.

"The way he grinds the bowlers. He's got a pattern to it, he understands his strengths, he sticks to that, he knows he's very tight with his defence. 

"He looks to do that and he waits for the bad ball to come."

Agarwal is playing just his second Test but when he holed out to long-on off Nathan Lyon on 77 it meant he had failed to convert a fifty in successive matches.

He said: "I am quite disappointed for missing out on a big score. I'm really disappointed I threw my wicket [away].

"With that said, it's a learning curve. If I don't make this mistake again it'll be a good learning [experience]."

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