In the first ODI on September 7 at Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein, Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne, stepping in as a concussion substitute, delivered a remarkable match-winning performance. Labuschagne’s unbeaten 80* (93) propelled Australia to a three-wicket victory, giving them a 1-0 lead in the 5-match series against South Africa. South Africa, batting first, managed to score 222 runs in 49 overs.
Temba Bavuma’s outstanding century (114) was the highlight, with Marco Jansen (32) providing some lower-order support. However, the rest of the South African batsmen struggled on a challenging pitch. Australian bowlers Josh Hazlewood (3/41) and Marcus Stoinis (2/20) stood out in the bowling department.
In the opening over, Marco Jansen quickly removed David Warner without a run to his name, providing a promising beginning for the home team. Travis Head (33) and Mitchell Marsh (17) attempted an aggressive approach but were short-lived. The South African fast bowlers performed effectively, causing Australia’s downfall to 113/7 in just 16.3 overs, placing South Africa in a dominant position.
Cameron Green left the field during the powerplay after taking a bouncer to the helmet from Kagiso Rabada. Marnus Labuschagne stepped in as a concussion substitute in his place. Labuschagne displayed a positive approach right from the start and formed a substantial 112-run partnership with Ashton Agar (48*), which enabled Australia to achieve the target in 40.2 overs.
Labuschagne managed the pressure effectively and played sensibly alongside the lower-order batsmen, all while maintaining a commendable scoring rate. Along the way to his 80 runs, Labuschagne struck eight boundaries.
Fans were highly impressed with the substitute’s batting performance against South Africa and shared their reactions on social media platforms like Twitter.
Here are a few of their comments:
Marnus Labuschagne created history :
He become the first ever player to be come in the xi as concussion substitute twice and hit half centuries both times.
Labuschagne is the best ever concussion replacement in the World. pic.twitter.com/mLCDnTbuZT
— Lubana Warriors (@LovepreetS49) September 7, 2023
From Bloemfontein to Lords – not the first time Marnus Labuschagne came as Concussion & played a gutsy knock….!
— Nawaz 🇵🇰 (@Nawaz_888) September 7, 2023
— Rishabh (@Pun_Intended___) September 7, 2023
The Super Sub – Marnus Labuschagne.
With his innings,@cricketcomau Australia won the tough game which was difficult at half stage.
He is Knocking World Cup door (can join only if someone would get injured). pic.twitter.com/6SaDH02N5y
— DHARIYA BHARDWAJ (@dhairyakumar) September 7, 2023
Marnus Labuschagne will be the first concussion substitute legend in cricket. pic.twitter.com/9EvVbMVMVZ
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) September 7, 2023
Marnus Labuschagne on bench as soon as a batter gets hit on helmet. pic.twitter.com/D8PpqjPTOp
— Silly Point (@FarziCricketer) September 7, 2023
– Australia Moved to No. 1
– Pakistan's fall down to No. 2
— Ash (@Ashsay_) September 7, 2023
It was great how things came together: Marnus Labuschagne’s reaction after his game-changing innings
During the post-match ceremony, Marnus Labuschagne, awarded the Player of the Match, contemplated his performance and stated:
“What a roller-coaster! My mum was adamant that I was playing, but I said I was not playing. Funny things happen after a concussion! I’ve been pretty disappointed with my One Day cricket game, so I decided to have a break and right the wrong things I’ve been doing.”
He added: “There were things that I wanted to improve against spin and pace. Didn’t have the pressure last night of batting. It was great how things came together.”
The second ODI between Australia and South Africa is scheduled for Saturday (September 9) at the same location.