Marnus Labuschagne keen to have another crack at No.3 on home turf

Marnus Labuschagne keen to have another crack at No.3 on home turf

January 9, 2019

Marnus Labuschagne will be hoping a home ground advantage and a knock of 85 not out against a pink ball sent down by a couple of Test seamers two seasons ago will be viewed favourably by selectors ahead of the upcoming Sri Lanka series.

Australia’s No.3 for the final Test of the India series is desperate to retain his spot for upcoming matches in Brisbane and Canberra against Sri Lanka after a dig of 38 at the SCG.

Marnus Labuschagne made 38 against India in the fourth Test. Credit:AAP

Australia’s selectors will name a squad on Wednesday for two matches against the No.6 ranked Test side, the first of which begins at the Gabba on January 24.

Labuschagne normally bats at No.3 for Queensland in the Sheffield Shield but interestingly came in at No.5 during his only match for the Bulls this season and scored 47. He was not required in the second innings.

The 24-year-old said he would love to remain at first drop and the possibility of playing in front of a home crowd had only increased that motivation.

"I’m not sure what they’re going to go with but I do play at the Gabba a fair bit for Queensland and am used to the pace and the bounce there," Labuschagne said. "It’s all about the make-up of the side and what they end up going with. Anyone who gets the opportunity to bat three for their country wants to make it their own."

Much has been made of Labuschagne’s batting average of 28.22 in the Sheffield Shield this season, but he scored 795 runs the previous season. There is one Labuschagne innings in the previous year, however, which came against a pink ball and selectors will take into consideration.

Against Test quicks Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, Labuschagne compiled 85 not out against NSW. Granted, Steve Smith (117), Kurtis Patterson (111) and Joe Burns (129) had already chalked up hundreds in a match played on a favourable pitch.

How closely selectors will monitor and reward pink ball form is unclear but Labuschagne is happy to know he has gone well against it in the past.

"Pink ball games always add that little element of something different and especially at the Gabba where there is a little bit more pace and bounce in the wicket," Labuschagne said. "Sri Lanka are a good opposition. They have been playing well, so we need to make sure we once again prepare well for that series and then come out and just try and execute our skills."

Labuschagne did not appear overawed at the crease in his first Test innings on home soil but he, like so many other Australian batsmen in the series, didn't kick on after a promising start.

Pats on the back about his 38 a healthy start have been met with a "thanks, but no thanks" retort from Labuschagne who concedes he needed to cash in after the hard work before being caught on the leg side working one off his pads.

"I made a start again which is frustrating not to go on but it just shows you the game of cricket is a fickle game," Labuschagne said. "I’ve got to get better at converting those starts to bigger scores. Technically my game is in a good place. I feel like I’m batting really well. I really need to … put that big total on the board."

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