Bolter Marnus Labuschagne impresses on Test debut

DESCRIBED by captain Tim Paine as a triple-threat, debutant Marnus Labuschagne has confirmed he will bring plenty to the table in Australia's new-look Test side.

FROM REDLANDS: Marnus Labuschagne playing for the Redlands Tigers last September. Photo: Doug O'Neill

FROM REDLANDS: Marnus Labuschagne playing for the Redlands Tigers last September. Photo: Doug O'Neill

The South Africa-born bolter was selected primarily for his ability as a middle-order batsman but it was in the other facets of the game where he impressed on an otherwise tough day for Australia in the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai.

Labuschagne plays for the Brisbane Heat and has played for Redlands since he was a junior cricketer in under 12s. 

His selection was announced last month for the Australian Test squad to play in the series against Pakistan.

Thrown into the attack by Paine minutes before tea on day two, the part-time legspinner struck gold in just his third over in Test cricket by removing Asad Shafiq (80) with a ripping delivery which caught the right-hander's edge.

Labuschagne then had Babar Azam (four) run out shortly after tea with a pinpoint throw from mid-wicket which left Babar well short of his crease.

Pakistan remained in a commanding position at stumps with Australia 0-30 in response to the hosts' imposing first-innings total of 482.

But Labuschagne, who spoke Afrikaans in his native country and did not learn English until he arrived in Australia as a 10-year-old, was delighted to have provided his teammates with a spark.

“I'm just happy that I was able to contribute in some way out there,” he said.

“It’s a dream come true, playing for your country and being able to represent Australia.

“It's our job now as the holders of that (baggy green) cap to take Australia forward and and make Australia proud.”

National coach Justin Langer appears to have bonded closely with Labuschagne and raved about his work ethic and desire when naming him in the Test squad.

The 24-year-old will bat at No.6 after edging out fellow Queenslander Matthew Renshaw for a spot in Australia's XI.

“Marnus has been fantastic around the group. He brings a lot of energy,” Paine said on the eve of the first Test.

“He's a bit of a triple threat – he's great in the field, he bowls some really handy legspin which I think will surprise some people and he's a really skillful, talented batsman.

“All three (debutants) bring a lot to the squad.”

AAP