Labuschagne, of course, did not care about this and scored in all areas of the picturesque ground, whether that be whipping leg-spinner Yasir Shah through mid-wicket or pulling the fast bowlers through mid-wicket.
Waugh was a key member of Australia’s top order for many years and in Labuschagne can sense a man knowing he belongs at the top level.
“His technique, his temperament is excellent. He has that confidence – he can play his shots without worrying about his spot in the team. He is locked in now for sure,” Waugh told Fox Cricket.
“I looked at his first-class record when he was picked for Australia, it wasn’t anything special, but his confidence can take him to another level.”
That level is already several storeys high, a point reinforced when, on 66, his career average touched 50 – a figure in the cricketing world that reflects excellence. He had begun the day averaging 46.75, his focus not wavering despite a rain delay.
Labuschagne had been the hero of Brisbane with his breakthrough Test century before his home crowd. He could have been forgiven for thinking his job in the series was done but his comments before play on Friday were of a man thirsting for more runs.
“My job is now to perform in this game. It was a great moment and it was one I will never forget but right now my focus is on performing today,” he said.
That should not have surprised, particularly for someone who spends so much time with Steve Smith and has embraced some of the batting great’s mannerisms. Labuschagne laps up any advice Smith offers, spending time over a coffee discussing tactics and technique, and their battles in the Adelaide nets when Labuschagne was taking on Smith with his leggies was well worth watching.
Labuschagne has a similar technique to Smith in the way he leaves the ball, now with an exaggerated flourish of the bat across his body, but also in the way he enjoys clipping straight deliveries through mid-wicket. He opened his stance through the Ashes tour and this has allowed him to drive better down the ground.
Ever the thinker, he opted to take block well outside of his crease on Friday, a move designed to upset the metronomic Mohammad Abbas. It did the trick, as he and David Warner shared in a double-century run stand that has this fragile Pakistan side wobbling and ready for the knock out.
“His (Labuschagne’s) knock up at Queensland was oustanding. He has started where left off at the Gabba. Hopefully, he come out tomorrow and put some more runs on the board,” Warner said of his partner.
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.