MARNUS Labuschagne's golden summer continued with a half-century in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG last week.
The Redlands Tigers product now sits fifth on the ICC Test batting rankings, having scored 622 runs at an average of more than 100 this summer.
His three centuries, all scored in a row against Pakistan and New Zealand, have put him in elite company and have drawn comparisons to Australia's best number three batsmen.
The gritty right-hander - who has played all his club cricket in the Redlands since moving with his family from South Africa - now sits alongside the likes of Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Cheteshwar Pujara as one of the world's best Test batsmen.
Labuschagne was picked out of relative obscurity to make his Test debut against Pakistan in the UAE last year, but has repaid the selectors' faith with a flurry of runs at the top of the order.
He has tinkered with his technique under the mentorship of Steve Smith since his inauspicious Test debut, and has looked completely at ease on wickets tailor made for his gritty approach to batting.
Many would have forgotten his struggles early in his Test career because of his Ashes heroics, but there was a time where it looked like Labuschagne's number was up.
He scored a duck in his first Test innings and left the UAE with an average of 20.25, before scoring a hard-fought 38 in the New Year's Test against India after being recalled to the side.
Labuschagne's breakthrough innings came against Sri Lanka later in the summer where he scored 83 under lights at the Gabba.
Two failures followed in Canberra and Labuschagne's technique was put under the microscope by the critics who had questioned his initial selection.
A stint for county side Glamorgan silenced those doubters and set him up for a Ashes series where he made some of the world's best bowlers toil in their home conditions.
He averaged 65 in the County Championship and was the quickest Glamorgan player in 20 years to score 1000 when he was drafted into a practice match ahead of the first Ashes Test.
It remains one of the most important games in Labuschagne's career to date, because he scored 41 in bowler-friendly conditions against the likes of James Pattinson, who is considered to be the future of Australian cricket.
His stoic resistance in that game, where his side managed just 105 in the first innings, became a theme for the Ashes as he and Steve Smith dismantled England's bowling cartel.
He finished the series with an average of a tick over 50, taking him from near the bottom of the Test batting rankings to the top.
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