Lahore: Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne did not allow the disappointment of defeat to interfere with his appreciation of Babar Azam’s sublime century, saying he learned from the Pakistan captain’s masterclass in the second one-dayer on Thursday.
Babar orchestrated Pakistan’s record chase of 349 with a masterly 114 of 83 balls, denying Australia an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
The elegant right-hander, ably supported by fellow centurion Imam-ul-Haq, scored his 15th ODI century in 83 innings, which is the fastest by any batsman.
“I enjoyed every minute of watching “ it was a pity it was against us,” Labuschagne told reporters after their six-wicket defeat in Lahore.
“That was a very good innings. I sat back and I took some things on board for my own game to learn from that innings.
“To score 100 off 73 balls, he barely put a foot wrong. It was just phenomenal.” Labuschagne praised Imam as well but felt dismissing Babar early in Saturday’s decider, also in Lahore, was crucial to clinch the series.
“I think if we can find a way to get him out early, put a bit more pressure on the middle to lower order, we have a chance,” the 27-year-old said.
“He batted us out of the game and fair play to him. It was a tremendous innings.”
Ben McDermott smashed his maiden international century for Australia and Labuschagne, who made 59, was elated to be at the non-striker’s end when his childhood friend brought up his hundred.
“We were best mates growing up in Australia. He was over at my house almost every second day, coming on the train home and we used to (play) in my backyard,” Labuschagne said.
“The hard work that he’s putting in domestic cricket in the Big Bash and his four-day game as well has just come such a long way, and I was I was over the moon for him today.”
Australia won the first ODI by 88 runs. The final ODI is also being played in Lahore on Saturday.