Marnus Labuschagne recently revealed that Australia are focused on beating India in the fourth Test in Brisbane and winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. His comments come after an injury-ravaged India secured a draw against all odds in the third rubber in Sydney on Monday (January 11).
Chasing 407 for victory, India were reduced to 272 for 5. However, Hanuma Vihari (23* off 161) and Ravichandran Ashwin (39* off 128) put on a 62-run sixth-wicket stand off 259 balls to eke out a memorable draw. Marnus Labuschagne isn’t too bothered about the result, though, maintaining that the hosts’ desire to win at the Gabba remains intact.
“We played a [drawn] Test match today but it’s a Test series and we’re here to win. Regardless of the result of this game, if we won or it was a draw, we had to go to the Gabba and win. So nothing’s changed for us – it’s a matter of changing our focus and making sure we take them down at the Gabba,” Marnus Labuschagne told cricket.com.au.
Notably, the Gabba has been Australia’s fortress, and they have not lost a Test there since 1988 – an unbeaten streak of 28 games. In the 55 Tests the Aussies have played in Brisbane to date, they have won 33, drawn 13, tied one, and lost eight matches.
“They batted well, they grinded well, and I think we couldn’t have changed much” – Marnus Labuschagne
India scripted history at the Sydney Cricket Ground by playing out 131 overs – the most they've faced in the fourth innings of a drawn Test since 1979. Marnus Labuschagne acknowledged India’s grit and resilience whilst also admitting that he expected a bit more spice in the fifth-day wicket.
“A Day 5 SCG wicket usually has a little more rough, a little bit more inconsistent bounce, but when a team blocks out 131 overs, that’s fair play to them. They batted well, they grinded well, and I think we couldn’t have changed much.
“You have respect for the opposition and you respect the way they play. It’s Test cricket. No one that’s playing Test cricket just lets it go. They all show heart because they’re playing for their country,” Marnus Labuschagne, who scored 91 and 73 in the third Test, explained.
The Aussie No. 3 rubbished claims of the bowling attack having suffered an off day on Monday. However, Labuschagne admitted that adding a few more runs in the first innings could’ve proved to be decisive in the context of the match.
“I’d by no means say it was an off day. I think they put the ball there for long periods of time...We played really well. Probably that first innings we could’ve probably got a few more runs, but apart from that it was a really good game from us,” Marnus Labuschagne concluded.
India have more injury concerns to address than Australia. Nonetheless, both sides would want to put in a top performance and end the long tour on a high to stay in the hunt for a place in the World Test Championship final in June this year.Published 12 Jan 2021, 13:51 IST