Can Marnus Labuschagne Handle India’s Trial By Spin?

Can Marnus Labuschagne Handle India's Trial By Spin?

Sanjay Sanapoori

Modified Jan 26, 2023 4:37 AM IST

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Batters doing well in the subcontinent is as tough as task as ever. To do so on the first time is even more difficult. From Australia’s point of view, they have Steve Smith who has done really well for them in India, in the past. The batters around him though have not been a consistent with the case of brilliance from the likes of Renshaw, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb in the past.

This time around though, the batting line-up surely looks more promising. Along with Steve Smith, Australia has Marnus Labuschagne, and Usman Khawaja, who have upped their games against spin and proved themselves in the subcontinent in recent times. Coming to Marnus Labuschagne, his sample space in the subcontinent is not too big, but his performances are proof of his potential.

In 5 Tests in the subcontinent last year, Marnus Labuschagne has managed to find a century and a 90. The other games saw him make some low-scores, but two good knocks and some fluency are enough for him to believe he can make things happen in the subcontinent.

Can Marnus Labuschagne Handle India's Trial By Spin?
Marnus Labuschagne has the technique, but can he outsmart Ravichandran Ashwin

Touring India and the other parts of the subcontinent though are two different things. In Pakistan, Marnus Labuschagne encountered some flat tracks while spin was not as extravagant as normally expected in Asia. Sri Lanka did spin, but the quality of bowlers in Sri Lanka and India can leave some discussions on the difficulty.

When it comes to India, Marnus Labuschagne will have a huge challenge of tackling Ravichandran Ashwin in conditions that support him exceptionally. He has faced Ashwin in the past, when Ashwin was dismantling the Australian line-up in Australia two years ago. In that series as well, Labuschagne had a nice battle with Ashwin and compared his battle to a game of chess with the off-spinner.

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The honors were shared with Ashwin dismissing him twice. However, Marnus Labuschagne has conceded that his battle then resulted in him looking to further improve his game. Along with Ashwin though, Labuschagne has some challenges which could be greater. Facing the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel in their home conditions is just as tough.

Ravindra Jadeja in particular can be a handful. With his pace and accuracy, and a rough likely outside Labuschagne’s leg-stump, the challenge only grows. Labuschagne’s presence in the line-up though, despite all the challenges continues to add promise. He is close to averaging 60 in Test Cricket, has a technique similar to Steve Smith, and could be the perfect support as Australia look to win a Test series in India after 18 years.