Marnus Labuschagne drives superbly at the SCG on day two of the third Test between Australia and New Zealand. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP
Marnus Labuschagne drives superbly at the SCG on day two of the third Test between Australia and New Zealand. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Marnus moves past Steve Smith's batting average

MARNUS Labuschagne has moved past Steve Smith's batting average to take Australia to 5-354 at lunch on day two of the third Test against New Zealand at the SCG.

Labuschagne, well on track to make the fourth hundred of his brilliant summer a big one, is not out on 181 after adding 51 to his overnight score.

Matthew Wade (22) and Travis Head (10) were the men to fall on Saturday morning, with Tim Paine not out 10.

With the series already wrapped up, Labuschagne's haul has momentarily taken him past Smith with the second-highest batting average in Test history.

The right-hander's career figures stand at 1366 runs at an average of 65.04, above Smith's 62.84.

Granted, Labuschagne has played far fewer Tests, but his 22 innings means he qualifies to hold the mantle as the highest batting average since Don Bradman.

He has now also passed 800 runs for the summer, joining Bradman, Neil Harvey and England's Wally Hammond in doing so in a five-Test summer in Australia.

The Queenslander has driven nicely on day two, playing the shot of the day when he sent Matt Henry to the boundary through mid on.

Scans confirmed paceman Henry had suffered a broken hand, but he OK to bowl.

Jeet Raval joined Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls and Mitchell Santner in the sick bay, sitting out the first hour of play.

That even prompted batting coach Peter Fulton to wear the whites, running the drinks and ready to act as a substitute fielder if required.

The Black Caps at least had some early joy when Will Somerville bowled Wade in the first over of the day, taking his off stump as he attempted to sweep hard.

Head later fell caught behind, trying to cut a ball from Henry too close to his body.

News Corp Australia


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