Marnus Labuschagne has played only 15 Tests in his short international career, but has firmly established himself as one of the best red-ball batsmen in the world. Star Australia batsman Steve Smith has opined the 26-year-old needs to adapt and come up with new plans once oppositions start devising ways to get him out.
Since coming on as a concussion substitute for Steve Smith at Lord’s during the 2019 Ashes, Labuschagne has climbed up to third on the ICC Test batting rankings. The No. 3 batsman scored 353 runs at an average of 50.42 in the Ashes before racking up 896 runs at a stunning average of 112 in the home summer.
Steve Smith acknowledged Labuschagne’s stellar start. He added that the Queenslander needs to adapt on the fly to counter the plans oppositions formulate against him based on in-depth analysis.
“He batted exceptionally well, batted for long periods of time, had really good plans, and was able to adapt to what was thrown at him...It’s being able to adapt on the fly and understand how the bowlers are trying to get you out or contain you, and coming up with a plan to counter that. Marnus had such an amazing year last year and people have seen a bit more of him and how he plays,” Steve Smith told Fox Cricket.
‘Marnus has a really good cricket brain,’ says Steve Smith
Marnus Labuschagne managed scores of 47 and 6 in the day-night Test against India, with the first innings score having come on the back of three dropped chances. While Umesh Yadav struck him plumb in front in the first innings, he top-edged an attempted slog off Ravichandran Ashwin in the second essay.
Steve Smith reiterated the need to evolve on the go, and sounded confident that Labuschagne would be able to do so with aplomb.
“I think it’s going to be for him to understand on the fly what’s going on, how they’re trying to go about it...That’s one thing I think Marnus will do really well. He’s got a really good cricket brain, he knows how he wants to play, I’m sure he’ll be fine with whatever is thrown at him,” Steve Smith concluded.
Steve Smith didn’t look too comfortable at the crease in the 1st Test. The No. 4 batter got out for 1 off 29 balls in the first innings, before remaining unbeaten on 1 in the second essay as Australia comfortably chased down 90 runs with 8 wickets in hand.
It’ll be intriguing to see whether Steve Smith can return to form in the remaining three day games at Melbourne (Dec 26-30), Sydney (Jan 7-11) and Brisbane (Jan 15-19).
Published 23 Dec 2020, 11:21 IST