Maiden ton has Marnus ‘carrying on like a goose’
You can take the boy out of Klerksdorp. But can't take Klerksdorp out of the boy.
Marnus Labuschagne has made scoring centuries a habit this summer, but there was something particularly special about last night's maiden ODI hundred in front of 50 members of his family in Potchefstroom - just 50km from the town where he was born.
Racing through to complete the tightest of twos to bring up triple figures, Labuschagne let out an awesome roar to span the distance of how far he's come from South African immigrant to Australian international star.
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Labuschagne's family from Klerksdorp rose as one, as did almost every spectator at a packed Senwes Park, with South African flags waving around the ground to honour an Australian hundred.
"Oh look it was amazing. I can't really describe it in any other way," said the kid who left as 'Labu-skagne' and returned as 'Labu-shane'.
"When I came back for the two, I didn't think about what I was going to do. I carried on like a bit of a goose but it was amazing. To have 50 members of my family here from all over South Africa.
"I left so young. I love representing Australia. That's my country. Although I was born in South Africa, and there's definitely a little spot there in my heart for the country, but I'm Australian through and through."
It was a desperately needed ton, with Labuschagne's run-a-ball 108 - finally out off the second last ball of the innings - single-handedly lifting Australia to 7-254 following yet another disjointed batting performance from the tourists this series.
After being dismissed for the first golden duck of his career in Australia's last match in Bloemfontein for which his mother's family had travelled five hours to see, Labuschagne made sure he delivered for the big reunion last night in his sixth ODI game.
Labuschagne has called Brisbane home since he was nine-years old, but his connection to the motherland South Africa remain strong.
With the smell of braais burning on the grassy embankments packed with Potchefstroom university students, and smoke wafting across the ground, Labuschagne looked right at home.
Every shot to the boundary was followed by Afrikaans music bellowing out the loudspeakers, and when he brought up his milestone, the local crowd left allegiances to one side and cheered the Aussie who cut his teeth in a backyard in Klerksdorp.
Labuschagne spent more than a week in South Africa with family before the ODI series began, visiting schools around Rustenburg and dazzling kids with his ability to drift seamlessly between speaking Afrikaans and then his foreign Queensland accept.
After a press conference he gave before the first one-dayer in Paarl, a local reporter asked Labuschagne after the microphones were turned off whether he still supported South African national teams.
Labuschagne stood stumped for a moment, and then not wanting to open a can of worms, walked away offering a cryptic, "may the best team win!"
But when it comes to wearing Australian cricket colours, there is no one prouder than Marnus.
Labuschagne was extra motivated to kick onto a hundred, after he was earlier responsible for running out Mitchell Marsh at a crucial juncture of the Australian innings.