Australian star batsman Marnus Labuschagne has credited Indian bowlers for attacking the hosts with straight lines and lengths. The visitors have prevented the Aussies from scoring at a brisk pace by setting predominantly leg-side fields, and the bowlers have backed it up by giving absolutely no width outside off-stump.
This attacking line has also proved to be the undoing of the hosts' main batsmen like Labuschagne and Steve Smith. The duo have been strangled down the leg-side, getting caught at the unorthodox 'leg-gully' position.
Marnus Labuschagne accepted that it has been tough going so far for the Australian batsmen due to such brilliant planning from the visitors. In a virtual press conference arranged by Cricket Australia, the 26-year-old explained how the hosts intend to counter this 'leg-side trap' of Team India.
"The leg-side trap is quite challenging. Not only is it difficult to hit boundaries, but the rotation of strike also gets affected. Even if you want to remain positive, you cannot be reckless. You have to give it to the Indians. They have come into the series with precise planning," Marnus Labuschagne said.
"They have not given us scoring chances on the off-side. It is now up to us to counter their strategy. I can’t reveal here how we will do that (in the remaining two Tests), but the goal is to bat with positive intent," Marnus Labuschagne further added.
I am quite confident that Steve Smith will roar back into form: Marnus Labuschagne
It is safe to say that the Indian bowlers have got the better of Steve Smith so far in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The 31-year-old has struggled against the visitors' bowling attack, and especially against off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who has dismissed him twice in the series already.
Smith has mustered just 10 runs from four innings at an average of 3.33. However, Marnus Labuschagne reminded everyone that the former Australian skipper had just scored back-to-back hundreds against the same opposition in the ODI series. Thus, he reckons it is only a matter of time before Smith finds his golden touch again.
"Just a month back, Smithie scored back-to-back hundreds off some 60-odd balls. It is just a few innings that he hasn’t scored. He has been a champion for a dozen years or so. There is no stress at all (for Smith). I am quite confident that he will roar back to form," Marnus Labuschagne asserted.
The third Test between India and Australia will be played from January 7 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Having not let the hosts cross the 200-run mark even once in this series so far, Indian bowlers surely will have a psychological advantage going into the third Test.
With the series level at 1-1 after Team India's emphatic eight-wicket win at the MCG, the visitors will look to put the Aussies under immense pressure and try to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.Published 01 Jan 2021, 18:16 IST