Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne pushes World Cup squad case with century in second ODI victory against South Africa


Marnus Labuschagne was left out of Australia’s provisional 15-player World Cup squad but has since struck a match-winning 80 and career-best 124 in South Africa to push his case for selection ahead of the tournament, which starts on October 5; squads must be finalised on September 28

Australia's Marnus Labuschagne pushes World Cup squad case with century in second ODI victory against South Africa

Marnus Labuschagne sent a reminder to the Australian selectors ahead of the 2023 Cricket World Cup, smashing a career-best ODI hundred to lead his team to victory in the second match of their series against South Africa in Bloemfontein.

Labuschagne was a surprise omission from Australia’s World Cup squad named earlier this month but, much like the in-form Harry Brook for England, he is making a late push for inclusion before squads have to be finalised on September 28.

The 29-year-old, who averages 34.33 in 31 ODIs but over 50 in Test cricket, was also not picked in Australia’s team for the first ODI South Africa, but struck a match-winning 80 not out when coming on as a concussion substitute for Cameron Green on Thursday.

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Labuschagne has now followed that up with a magnificent 124 off 99 balls in the second ODI to propel Australia to 123-run victory at the Mangaung Oval and increase the pressure on selectors ahead of the World Cup in India, which starts on October 5.

David Warner (106 off 93 balls) also tonked a hundred at the top of the order for Australia, while Travis Head cracked 64 off just 36 deliveries as the pair shared a century stand inside the opening 10 overs. Josh Inglis contributed a quick-fire 50 off 37 balls.

Australia play three further ODIs in South Africa before flying to India for a three-match series against the World Cup hosts prior to their opening game of the tournament, also against India on October 8.

Captain Pat Cummins (wrist), fellow paceman Mitchell Starc (groin) are Steve Smith (wrist) are not part of the Australian squad in South Africa as they currently recover from injury, but they have all been included in the squad for the World Cup.

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