Australia add Labuschagne to squad for final Test against India


Australia have added Marnus Labuschagne to their Test squad for the final game of the four-match series against India that starts in Sydney on Thursday.

The home side go into that contest at the SCG needing a win to level the series after a 137-run loss at the MCG on Sunday saw India take a 2-1 lead.

The Aussies had named a 13-man squad for the Boxing Day and New Year’s Test matches but Queensland allrounder Labuschagne has now been added to give the side more options.

The 24-year-old Labuschagne, who was born in South Africa, is primarily a batsman but can also bowl some handy leg-spinners.

He has already played in two Tests this year but did not impress much in the series against Pakistan in the UAE in October.

He scored 0, 13, 25 and 43 in his four innings but did take seven wickets in the series and it is thought that the pitch in Sydney will offer more to the slow-bowlers.

Australia skipper Tim Paine said after the defeat on Sunday: “We’ll get up to Sydney and have a look at the conditions.

“From what we’re hearing, it’ll probably spin quite a bit so once we see that for ourselves, we’ll start to think about the best combination for ourselves to win that Test.”

The man who could make way for Labuschagne in the final XI could be allrounder Mitchell Marsh who once again failed to grasp his opportunity in Melbourne after being brought into the side to replace batsman Peter Handscomb.