No one in the 142-year history of Test match cricket had done what Marnus Labuschagne managed on day five at Lord's in 2019.

No one previously had ever woken up on the final morning of a game not knowing whether or not he would be part of the playing XI, and by day's end been the key bulwark against a revved up and desperate bowling attack to help secure a battling draw for his team in fading light. No one had done so to preserve a 1-0 series lead either.

No one had ever had to contemplate coming into the crucible of a Test match at such short notice, but Labuschagne was ready for all eventualities. "Earlier is always better because you can actually start training your mind to relax and focus on the game where you are not sitting on the edge," he has said. "If it is the night before you are still sitting on the edge, but sometimes you don't get a choice, you just have to deal with it."

No one had ever had to deal with being brought into a team for the final day of a Test match as a substitute, having witnessed his team's batting inspiration Steven Smith be invalided out of the game with a sickening blow from Jofra Archer and delayed-onset concussion. No one had ever come in to bat with 42.3 overs remaining and facing that same bowler, be greeted second ball by a vicious bouncer that clanged into the grille of their helmet.

No one had responded to the blow by leaping back up almost immediately, as if spring loaded, waving away England's players reflexively, then insisting through his on-field concussion test by the team doctor Richard Saw that all was well. No one had held their nerve as Archer sent numerous deliveries with the new ball scorching past the outside edge, playing the line and covering the off stump but not following any of the movement still wrought from the pitch.

No one had remained unflustered, finding regular opportunities to score, as England's spells grew steadily more desperate, the sky grew darker, and the Australia balcony moved from early apprehension to growing confidence in their substitute in the middle. No one had played the ball late, under the eyes, without edging wretchedly like David Warner, statuesquely like Usman Khawaja, or being pinned lbw on the crease like Cameron Bancroft.

No one had ever been subbed into a Test match and found himself seeking to calm the nerves of a jittery Travis Head, who might easily have been out three times in the first over he faced from Jack Leach, and should have been out when he edged Ben Stokes to Jason Roy in the slips with 19.5 overs still remaining. No one had kept calm when Leach spun balls wickedly out of the rough, countering him by using a sweep that if it did not make contact, at least presented an impassable barrier to the stumps.

No one had cleaned up after an increasingly shabby Australian performance, in which at least five catches went down and a succession of decision reviews were either made or not made in error. No one had spared the blushes of the captain Tim Paine after he chose to bowl first, then saw conditions, pitch and opposition leave the tourists well and truly cornered on the final day, as Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow found batting rhythm and confidence in ways that will make England's middle order much more of a formidable adversary in the remainder of the series.

No one had come into day five of a Test match in England with more comprehensive preparation, confidence and methodical rigour, honed over several summers playing the game in this part of the world, in between Australian summer assignments for Queensland. "My experiences in England, I was here in 2013 and 2014 playing club cricket, and this year playing county cricket, all my experiences have been great," Labuschagne said before the series. "I've loved the conditions, the challenge of the conditions, the things you need to be better at in England than Australia.

"I've got individual plans for each bowler, things that you do slightly different to guys that run the ball back in or swing it away and a bit more pace, a bit less pace, there's small changes but the fundamental side of things doesn't change. There's small things you try and do and create to bring things into your favour, I think that's the art of batting, there's definitely things you tinker with."

No one had found themselves trying to fill the shoes of Smith, having earned in the earlier days of this tour a similar reputation for obsession with the art of batting, being heard tapping his bat in the dead of night at the team's hotels in Southampton, Birmingham, Worcester and London. No one had tried to glean more from Smith, about bats, batting or the game as a whole, at every possible moment.

"I've had a few discussions with Smudge about batting. I think we are both quite cricket nuffs," Labuschagne said. "I love batting in my room, tapping the ball up, so there's always questions floating around about whose tapping the bat at 11 o'clock at night ... I feel like we are always the ones to blame. It's great he's played 70 Tests and he's averaging 62? 61? Unbelievable player, so as much as I can learn from him as possible and he's played in these conditions before so we've talked a little bit about that."

No one had ever started a Test match as a spectator and ended it as the central player, hustling to a fifty and then accepting the applause of the Lord's crowd when he walked off, his team all but safe from harm - all but for a late Leach and Archer flurry that gave England fleeting hope. Labuschagne's score of 59 had matched, almost exactly, the average in England of the man he subbed.

No one had used the opportunity thrust upon them on the final day of a match they had not started to make a compelling case for inclusion for the full duration of the next match, at Headingley from Thursday. No one had made Australia's fragile batting lineup look stronger, surer, braver and safer. No one had ever been a concussion substitute in Test cricket before Marnus Labuschagne. No one, you imagine, will ever do it better.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig