Marnus Labuschagne admitted his first century of the summer carried extra weight as it came in front of his newborn daughter, even though she was asleep as he reached the landmark. The Aussie batter brought up his ton on Wednesday as Australia took control of the first Test against the West Indies in Perth, ending Day 1 on 2-293.

‘Those memories will sit with you for a very long time. ‘Very thankful that they’re here and this one [century] was a little bit more special as a dad.’ Unfortunately for Labuschagne, Hallie appeared to be sound asleep as her father reached three figures. 

Labuschagne’s wife Rebekah and daughter Hallie, who was born just over two months ago, watched on from the stands as he and Steve Smith put Australia in a commanding position at Optus Stadium. ‘My wife and daughter came over [to Perth] so it was nice for her to see her first day of Test cricket and my hundred,’ he told Fox Sports. 

‘I think she was asleep when you made your hundred but was quickly woken up by mum jumping up and down,’ Fox Sports presenter Kath Loughnan told him. Labuschagne powered to a double century and Smith cracked his 29th Test ton, drawing level with Donald Bradman.

Australia declared at 4-598, with Smith unbeaten on 200 from 311 balls, after Travis Head was bowled on 99. Earlier, he and Labuschagne had compiled a 251-run partnership that ended on the stroke of lunch with the latter out for 204. 

Labuschagne began the session on 154 and Smith on 59 with the West Indies desperate for an early breakthrough. But on an overcast day with good batting conditions, Smith hit a boundary off Kemar Roach’s opening over to signal his intent and they quickly brought up the 300.

Australia resumed on 2-293 after dominating the opening day of the first Test between the sides in nearly seven years, with David Warner (5) and Usman Khawaja (65) the only wickets to fall.

Once again, the West Indies bowled with discipline and occasionally threatened, with Labuschagne lucky to escape after top-edging a pull shot off Jason Holder on 175. Labuschagne and Steve Smith (right) compiled a 251-run partnership that ended on the stroke of lunch with the former out for 204.

Labuschagne had a big let-off on 196 when wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva spilled a chance from the spin of Roston Chase. He was otherwise in charge and reached 200 with a boundary off Jayden Seales before he was caught by Da Silva after getting an edge off the part-time bowling of skipper Kraigg Brathwaite.

Smith is now joint 14th on the all-time list with his next target the 30 of fellow Australian Matthew Hayden and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, whose son Tagenarine is making his debut for the West Indies in Perth. Indian great Sachin Tendulkar’s 51 centuries remains the benchmark.

It ended a patient innings of 350 balls, with 20 fours and one six. A masterful Smith was untroubled as he swept to his 29th century, off 194 balls, to equal the feat of legendary Australian Bradman, who only played 52 Tests to Smith’s 88.


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