Labuschagne expects SCG grilling from India


Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne has commended India for their preparation for the Test series Down Under.

Labuschagne will return to the site of his first and to date only Test double-ton when Australia face India in the traditional New Year’s match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He feels that while the ground has often been a batsman’s paradise, the world class bowling attacks both sides possess should keep everyone honest at the crease.

“I don’t know if it (SCG) is my favourite venue in the world but I definitely think it is a beautiful venue to play in. At times, it has been quite batting friendly. But with two world-class bowling attacks it will always be hard work for the batsmen,” said Labuschagne, in a virtual press briefing on Thursday 31 December.

“I haven’t really revisited it (the 215 against New Zealand) too much for the last couple of months. But yes, definitely I have sort of looked back and, yeah, it was very special. You know getting nervous, getting that double hundred at the SCG. Doing it in front of a full house in the pink Test, very exciting.”

India attack giving Australia an examination

Labuschagne says that India have made it very difficult for the hosts with their discipline and innovation.

“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,” he said.

Labuschagne credits Ashwin

Labuschagne and Steve Smith had given Australia’s middle-order an imperious sheen in recent times but the pair have struggled to come to grips with Ravi Ashwin’s off-spin.

“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.”