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News

'Incredible game' - Labuschagne recounts drama of epic tie

The Australia batter made a century as Glamorgan came within a whisker of a world-record chase

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
05-Jul-2024
Marnus Labuschagne drives, Glamorgan vs Middlesex, County Championship, Cardiff, May 17, 2024

Marnus Labuschagne contributed a century to Glamorgan's huge second innings  •  Getty Images

Marnus Labuschagne has reflected on being involved in the extraordinary tied County Championship game earlier this week and admitted Glamorgan thought they were home in their bid for a world-record run chase.
They had been set 593 by Gloucestershire and entered the final over of the match needing two to win after centuries from Labuschagne and Sam Northeast. Mason Crane played out four dot balls before taking a single to level the scores leaving No. 11 Jamie McIlroy on strike. He swung hard at Ajeet Dale, edging through to James Bracey who took a spectacular one-handed catch having removed his right glove in preparation for the batters attempting a bye.
"Whenever you are chasing a big score like that it's always about one step at a time," Labuschagne told SEN Radio. "But the ground we played at was [a] very fast outfield so you just felt like if you got on top of the opposition and you scored and batted well, things could get out of hand very quickly.
"That's always in the back of your mind but you are just taking it one step at a time. Then when it gets down to 100 you start getting a little more invested and you get a bit more eager, then it gets down to 50, then we lost a couple more wickets and we are like, do we bat the draw or go all in for the win.
"So there was heaps of ups and downs and even into the last over, we got a boundary off the last ball of the second last over of the day, then we thought we were home. Needed two runs off the last over, we had Mason Crane the batter in on strike. He ended up facing four dots and then got a single, so it's over to the No. 11 to get the job done.
"Incredible game…we got their score, we just couldn't get one more."
The match marked Labuschagne's last County Championship outing of this spell with Glamorgan which concludes with a run of T20 Blast matches before he returns to Australia. He will then be part of Queensland's pre-season as their new captain ahead of potentially returning to England for the ODI series in mid-September.
Labuschagne scored 468 runs at 58.50 in four first-class matches with two centuries which follows a relatively lean period in his Test career where he has made one century in his last 20 Tests, although hit 90 in the previous outing against New Zealand in March.
"The ups and downs of the game is part of the challenge," he said. "For me it was just a good opportunity to review before I came here on how I've been successful, what have I done in different time periods that I've been batting well... have done a few technical things and worked on a few things and it's coming together really nicely, so setting up nicely for some one-day cricket and some Test cricket coming up this summer.
"I always look at my game from a technical lens, finding out ways to improve and get better, and especially with my technique making sure my alignment is good, moving into the ball well, all those sorts of things [are] really important for me."
Being involved in a 592-run four-day tie has not been the only memorable moment of Labuschagne's Glamorgan season with him also lighting up social media with his spectacular catch in the T20 Blast.
"It's definitely the best catch I've taken that's been caught on camera, that's for sure," he said. "I took a catch in club cricket when I was 18 or 19, the boys that I play with at Queensland always say it was another very good catch, but unfortunately we don't have that on camera, so as good as it never happened."
Labuschagne could be available for at least the first month of the Sheffield Shield season for Queensland and potentially more depending on how multi-format players are managed around the white-ball series against Pakistan in November. The first Test against India starts in Perth on November 22.
"It's there in the back of my mind stewing along," he said of the prospect of facing India, "but when you are playing you are always trying to focus on the here and now."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo