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Labuschagne pushes for World Cup selection with superb century vs South Africa

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Bloemfontein (South Africa), Sep 9 (IANS) Not included in the preliminary squad for next month’s Men’s ODI World Cup in India, Australia’s middle-order batter Marnus Labuschagne struck a brilliant century in the second ODI against South Africa to send a timely message to the national selectors.

Labuschagne slammed a 99-ball 124, hitting 19 boundaries and one six as Australia put up a massive 392/8 in 50 overs on Saturday.

Labuschagne reached his half-century in 54 deliveries, hitting eight boundaries and then raced to the three-figure mark off 80 balls, scoring the second fifty off just 26 balls.

He raised a 151-run partnership for the third wicket with opener David Warner, who scored 106 off 93 balls as the Australian top-order made merry. Warner also served notice on the Australian team management with a timely century.

Labuschagne, who averages 34.33 in 31 ODIs but over 50 in Test cricket, was not picked for the first ODI against South Africa but struck a match-winning 80 not out coming on as a concussion substitute for Cameron Green on Thursday.

With this century on Saturday, the 29-year-old Labuschagne is making a late push for selection ahead of the final squads are finalised on September 28.

While Labuschagne and Warner struck majestic hundreds Travis Head hammered 64 off 36 balls while Josh Inglis slammed 50 off 37 deliveries as Australia posted a big total. Warner and Travis Head shared a 109-run partnership for the opening wicket to set the foundation for the innings.

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