Saturday, March 25, 2023

Marnus Labuschagne says ugly races could be key to SCG test as Australia look to fight India in Border-Gavaskar Trophy series

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Australian running machines Steve smith and Marnus Labuschagne fell short of their high standards in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Series – and the latter says ugly races could offer an escape.

Smith had a test batting average of 62.84 heading into Australia’s home series against India, while Labuschagne had an average of 63.43.

But Smith and Labuschagne averaged only 3.33 and 32.25 respectively on the first two tests, at Adelaide Oval and Melbourne Cricket Ground, and are now tasked with leading Australia’s quest to break the deadlock of the one-all series.

“You don’t want to give any excuse as to why we’re not scoring points,” Labuschagne said.

“They were really good, they played really well and they were very consistent, so for us it’s just about finding a way. It’s not necessarily pretty; we just have to keep grinding and keep on find a way, and if we get in, we’ve got to make sure we get these big scores. “

While they haven’t seen as much success in the test series as expected, Smith and Labuschagne are set to return to a place where they both thrived in the testing arena.

The former Australian captain averages 67.88 over seven tests at Sydney Cricket Ground, while his liner averages 104 over two tests at the Moore Park site.

Labuschagne was sublime when Australia last played an SCG test, compiling 215 innings – their best score on the test – and 59 against New Zealand in January 2020.

“It was very special to get that double cent in the SCG and do it in front of a full room in the Pink Test,” said Labuschagne.

“I really like playing batting there. It’s a beautiful place to play, and it’s been quite stick-friendly at times.

“But with two world-class bowling strikes, it’s still tough work; no matter what the wicket looks like.”

Australia will need to win this series of tests to win back the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which they haven’t held since the Australian summer of 2014-15.

India have since won the series at home in 2017 and on the Australian coast in the summer of 2018-19, becoming the first subcontinent team to win a series of tests in Australia.

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