Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne has praised Team India’s discipline with the ball in the ongoing Test series. Australia’s batsmen have been completely dominated by the Indian bowlers so far as the hosts look to bounce back in the third Test after suffering a crushing eight-wicket loss in the second Test at the MCG.
Barring the second innings of the first Test where they were chasing 90, Australia’s batsmen have failed to counter the Indian attack. In fact, their highest total of the series so far is only 200. India bowled them out for just 191 in the first innings of the Adelaide Test before bundling them for 195 in the second Test. In the second innings of the match, Australia finally managed to score 200 but still lost the Test.
Unsurprisingly, there has been widespread criticism for the Australian batsmen especially from the former Australia players. The hosts will be desperate to put up a better show in the Sydney Test, scheduled to start on January 7. And ahead of the game, Marnus Labuschagne was all praise for India’s bowling efforts so far.
“I think they (India) have been very disciplined with their plans with both spin and pace. They have really held that straight line. They made us face a lot of balls. They have come in with a plan with those straight fields, making sure they are not really leaving the stumps and having a really heavy leg-side field. It obviously slows the scoring rate. They are taking those catches. It is for us to make sure in finding ways to score runs. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just keep grinding out and keep finding a way out,” said Marnus Labuschagne.
Nothing describes Australia’s struggle with the bat better than their batting mainstay Steve Smith’s poor run in the series. The ever-reliant former Australia skipper is going through one of his worst phase in Test cricket and is yet to touch the double-digit mark in the series. Smith’s scores in the series so far read – 1, 1*, 0 and 8.
Marnus Labuschagne, however, defended his senior teammate and also stated that the batsman is not short on runs. He was quick to point out Smith’s two centuries in the ODI series against India a few weeks ago.
“Call it what you may, but Steve is not short on runs. The guy has got above-60 average in 70-odd games. He has been consistent. I mean, he got two hundreds in 60-odd balls in the one-dayers. Probably he has played a lot of white ball cricket and has not got as much time with red ball. That’s the reality in these times. So, we have to find ways,” said Marnus Labuschagne.
On struggle against Ravichandran Ashwin:
A large part of Smith and Labuschagne’s struggles has to do with Ravichandran Ashwin; the off-spinner having dismissed the duo twice each in two Tests. Speaking about that, Labuschagne hailed the India ace as a great bowler and thinker before saying that the off-spinner has come really prepared.
“I had never faced Ashwin before until this series, so I don’t have a comparison to compare him with. But, you don’t have the figures and the stats that Ravi has without being a great bowler and also a great thinker. He has come really prepared. They are being really crafty with their field and what they are trying to do.
“Look, we have fallen into their trap a few times. At the end of the day, someone’s going to get you out in a game of cricket. So for us it’s about reviewing those dismissals and come back stronger, making sure we learn from each innings,” he said.