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Labuschagne back with a ton in new opener role

Marnus Labuschagne has returned to Glamorgan with a hundred while Dan Worrall bowled Surrey to victory

Probably the most popular Aussie in Wales, Marnus Labuschagne rarely lets down the fans at his Glamorgan "second home".

The Test batting maestro was at it again on his return to the county championship at Cardiff on Sunday, spearheading their fightback with a ninth first-class century for his beloved adopted team.

"It's always exciting to be back here in Cardiff at Sophia Gardens. It's sort of my second home now," the 29-year-old had gushed earlier in the week after returning to the venue in the Welsh capital where he's scored stack of runs.

He had missed out in the first innings of their clash against Middlesex, getting caught behind for a swift 23 but he doesn't fail twice very often and looked determined to make amends second time around with his side 160 behind on first innings. 

The Queenslander told BBC Sport Wales after his innings that the conditions in Cardiff made him alter his playing style.

"The wicket took a lot of mental energy, so it was a different innings," Labuschagne said. 

"It was tough to score out there, there wasn’t much bounce and the wicket is pretty two-paced so you can’t really throw your hands through the ball or have any freedom or rhythm."

Opening the batting again, Labuschagne partnered the prolific South African Colin Ingram in a fourth-wicket partnership of 156 that's helped the hosts make a fight of it.

Both men went on to make a hundred - it was Ingram's fourth of the season - with Labuschagne compiling his 111 off 200 balls, featuring 17 boundaries.

Ingram made a more attacking 105 but both will have been frustrated to get out just when it seemed Glamorgan could seize the initiative. The hosts were left at 7-294 - a lead of 134 - by stumps.

For Labuschagne, though, it was a familiar example of his mastery of county attacks. In his 27th championship game, he's now scored 2355 runs at an average of 56.07.

Labuschagne is all smiles on his return for Glamorgan // Getty

Champions Surrey love their Aussies too, with stalwart Dan Worrall, who now has UK and Australian passports after has successful stint in the English game, once again endearing himself to The Oval diehards with a masterful display of seam bowling that powered them to a 281-run, three-day demolition of Worcestershire.

Worrall was brilliant with his 10-for, taking 4-35 in their second innings to add to his 6-22 in the first, and the evergreen 32-year-old has boosted Surrey's quest for a hat-trick of titles as they bowled out Worcestershire for 231.

It is Surrey's fourth straight victory and, having begun the game already 21 points clear, their 19-point haul looks set to only stretch their lead.

Surrey's other Australian Sean Abbott also chipped in with a typically useful contribution, hitting a brisk 38 near the end of Surrey's second-innings 427 before taking 1-39 amid Worcestershire's capitulation. 

After Lancashire's Nathan Lyon had won their 'Ashes reunion' duel on Saturday, dismissing Durham's Ben Stokes for just two, the England captain roared back in familiar fashion on Sunday, taking his first five-wicket haul since July 2018.

Durham, though, still face a battle to avoid a last-day defeat as Lancashire captain Keaton Jennings, the former England opener, haunted his old team with his second century of the match, adding 155 to his first-innings 115.

Stokes's 5-98 from 20 overs meant his match figures were 38-2-169-7, very encouraging for his plans to return to full all-round duties for England.

After Lancashire had declared on 9-353, leaving a target of 475, Durham went to 3-134, with Lyon following up his four-wicket haul in the first innings with another scalp.  

All eyes will be on the next instalment of his battle with Stokes, who's bound to try to hit Durham to glory on Monday's final day.

Marcus Harris is 10 not out at stumps as Leicestershire were made to follow on following Gloucestershire's massive 6dec-706 (Cameron Bancroft 160, Beau Webster 44no). 

Australians in the 2024 County Championship

Durham: Ben Dwarshuis, Ashton Turner (both T20s only)

Essex: Daniel Sams (T20s only)

Glamorgan: Marnus Labuschagne

Gloucestershire: Cameron Bancroft, Beau Webster

Hampshire: Michael Neser, Ben McDermott (T20s only)

Kent: Wes Agar, Charlie Stobo, Xavier Bartlett (T20s only)

Lancashire: Nathan Lyon, Chris Green (T20s only)

Leicestershire: Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris

Northamptonshire: Chris Tremain (first four matches only)

Somerset: Matthew Renshaw

Surrey: Sean Abbott, Spencer Johnson (T20s only)

Sussex: Nathan McAndrew, Daniel Hughes

2024 Division One County Championship standings

Team
Matches played
M
Wins
W
Losses
L
Drawn
D
No results
N/R
Deductions
Ded.
Batting Bonus
Bat
Bowling Bonus
Bowl
Total points
PTS
1 Surrey Surrey SRY 7 4 1 2 0 0 16 19 115
2 Essex Essex ESS 7 4 1 2 0 0 15 18 113
3 Somerset Somerset SOM 7 2 1 4 0 0 16 19 99
4 Hampshire Hampshire HAM 7 2 1 3 1 2 10 13 85
5 Durham Durham DUR 7 2 1 3 1 1 9 11 83
6 Nottinghamshire Nottinghamshire NOT 7 1 2 4 0 0 11 20 79
7 Warwickshire Warwickshire WAR 7 0 2 5 0 0 19 18 77
8 Worcestershire Worcestershire WOR 7 0 2 5 0 0 13 17 70
9 Lancashire Lancashire LAN 7 1 3 3 0 0 8 16 64
10 Kent Kent KEN 7 1 3 3 0 0 7 14 61

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

D: Drawn

N/R: No results

Ded.: Deductions

Bat: Batting Bonus

Bowl: Bowling Bonus

PTS: Total points

2024 Division Two County Championship standings

Team
Matches played
M
Wins
W
Losses
L
Drawn
D
No results
N/R
Deductions
Ded.
Batting Bonus
Bat
Bowling Bonus
Bowl
Total points
PTS
1 Sussex Sussex SSX 7 3 1 3 0 2 20 19 109
2 Middlesex Middlesex MSX 7 2 0 5 0 0 14 15 101
3 Leicestershire Leicestershire LEI 7 0 0 7 0 0 21 15 92
4 Gloucestershire Gloucestershire GLO 7 1 1 4 1 0 20 14 90
5 Northamptonshire Northamptonshire NOR 7 0 1 6 0 0 18 17 83
6 Glamorgan Glamorgan GLA 7 1 1 5 0 0 12 14 82
7 Yorkshire Yorkshire YRK 7 0 2 5 0 0 16 21 77
8 Derbyshire Derbyshire DBY 7 0 1 5 1 1 12 11 70

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

D: Drawn

N/R: No results

Ded.: Deductions

Bat: Batting Bonus

Bowl: Bowling Bonus

PTS: Total points