Marnus Labuschagne loves playing at Perth. The second-ranked Test batter might have played only three innings but already has scores of 143, 50 and 154* at this venue. Guess what, he can still add to that 154*, which he got on day one of the first Test against West Indies on Wednesday (November 30). The right-hander registered his eighth Test century and propelled Australia to 293/2 before the stumps were drawn on day one.
"I love this venue. I love playing in Perth because the conditions are so similar to Brisbane. And I've had some good success in Brisbane so it's really nice to be able to come to a ground where the characteristics of the wicket are very similar," said Labuschagne.
"Growing up playing a lot on the Gabba really helps with that because you know there's light at the end of the tunnel. So you know you've got to put in the hard work early. Knowing the conditions, obviously playing in Brisbane with the bouncy conditions, certainly helps.
"You just let the ball go. You understand the game, the tempo isn't as fast as other venues. You're not hitting as many balls. You're letting a lot of balls go. So all those things really helped. And then to be able to then come out after lunch and after tea and be able to put the pressure on, they tried to amend their shorter length and they tried to bowl a bit fuller which created a few more scoring options for us."
Labuschagne has a staggering record at home. The 28-year-old averages close to 70 in Australia and seven of his eight centuries have come in home conditions. However, he did struggle a bit against Mark Wood in last year's Ashes series with the paceman testing him with that outside off-stump line, but Labuschagne has made some tweaks since then.
"I certainly looked at a lot of that stuff from last summer. It's feeling alright. I've certainly felt better. But it's nice to be scoring runs when you're not absolutely feeling 100%. Certainly, my stance is probably more closed off I think from where it was last summer.
"I'm probably not as rigid as I was last summer. I feel like I'm a little bit more relaxed in my hands. So I think that's helping me on that short ball and that back-foot punch, so I don't really get stuck and then start fending the ball away from my face."
Australia are currently in a commanding position and Labuschagne has no intention of slowing down. "Whenever you're not out overnight on 150 the next stop is 200. So it's just going to be for me tomorrow if I'm able to stick to the process for long enough.
“If I do, I'm sure I'll get there. But put that out of your mind, you've got to take it ball by ball and if the 200 does come that's great, but more importantly, I'm just trying to get as many runs as we can in this first innings and put the pressure on the West Indies."