Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Composed Labuschagne seals win over plucky Redbacks
Ashes breakout star hits third fifty in four Marsh Sheffield Shield innings to lead Bulls to four-wicket final-day win
21 October 2019, 11:00 AM AEST
Marnus Labuschagne's third Marsh Sheffield Shield half century in four innings has sealed Queensland's four-wicket win over South Australia - and no doubt guaranteed the Bulls batsman his Test spot.
Ashes standout Labuschagne hit an unbeaten 72, providing a much-needed cool head after the Bulls' dramatic batting collapse at the Gabba on Sunday, to guide the Bulls to their first Shield win this campaign.
Labuschagne appears to have locked down the Test No.3 spot for the series against Pakistan starting in Brisbane on November 21 after his string of half centuries - all at the Gabba.
Not that Labuschagne was losing any sleep over his Test chances, yet.
"Any runs in some way help you for (Test) selection but the main focus was to win, there was no thought about what was ahead," he said.
"The way I have been thinking for the last year is to stay focused on the game I am playing without thinking too far ahead."
But Labuschagne did back himself to step up for Australia against Pakistan after his confidence boosting stint in England.
Labuschagne reckoned he had returned from the UK a better player after hitting 353 runs at 50.42 in the drawn Ashes series that helped Australia retain the urn - following on from his successful county stint.
"You have to be clear with your plans and then trust it," he said.
"Sometimes it doesn't come off or you get a good run. The main thing is coming back to what is working for you.
"A lot comes down to the season I had in England at Glamorgan and into the Ashes."
Chasing a victory target of just 150, the Bulls resumed their chase on day four at 5-102 but quickly lost wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson for 27.
However, Labuschagne ensured there were no more anxious moments for the hosts and broke the Redbacks' spirit with three boundaries in four balls off Wes Agar before he struck the winning runs.
Labuschagne - who also struck a solid 32 in the first dig - held the innings together after the Bulls suffered a horror collapse late on Sunday, losing five wickets in 14 balls.
He steadied to share a 62-run sixth wicket stand with Peirson.
Bulls skipper and Test hopeful Usman Khawaja was dismissed for a golden duck during Sunday's stunning collapse after a first innings knock of just two.
Redbacks quick Nick Winter finished with 4-37 and eight scalps for the match.
Australia Test vice-captain Travis Head also failed again before South Australia's tail wagged on Sunday.
After a first innings duck off 25 balls, Redbacks skipper Head failed to further his chances of a Test recall since his Ashes dumping when caught driving for just 12 off 28 balls.
South Australia XI: Jake Weatherald, Henry Hunt, Jake Lehmann, Travis Head (c), Tom Cooper, Alex Carey (wk), Tom Andrews, Cameron Valente, Nick Winter, Chadd Sayers, Wes Agar
Queensland XI: Matthew Renshaw, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja (c), Marnus Labuschagne, Charlie Hemphrey, Bryce Street, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Michael Neser, Cameron Gannon, Mark Steketee, Xavier Bartlett