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Ashes 2021-22: Marnus Labuschagne 'Can't Wait For The Challenge' to Face James Anderson

Marnus Labuschagne is a key member of the Australian team for the Ashes series. (AFP Photo)

Marnus Labuschagne is a key member of the Australian team for the Ashes series. (AFP Photo)

Despite averaging a superb 53 in the four-Test series against India last summer, Marnus Labuschagne had problems with deliveries which straightened after pitching.

Top Australian batter Marnus Labuschagne has said that he was lucky to get the opportunity to play in the Test side in 2019, and that his aim since then has been to cement his place in the team and become an integral part of the setup.

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Labuschagne, 27, who is a key member of the Australian team for the Ashes series, had come into the side as a concussion substitute at Lord’s in 2019 after top-order batter Steve Smith was hit on the head. He has since become a regular member of the team and now averages over 60 in Test cricket, making him only the fourth Australian batter in history to achieve the feat.

“I was lucky to get the opportunity in 2019 and go on with it," Labuschagne was quoted as saying by sen.com.au in Brisbane after a practice session on Saturday ahead of the opening Test at the Gabba from December 8.

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“The target is on the back now. I’ve got great examples from this generation to look up to… (Kane) Williamson, (Steve) Smith, (Joe) Root, (David) Warner, (Virat) Kohli… who consistently score runs."

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Despite averaging a superb 53 in the four-Test series against India last summer, Labuschagne had problems with deliveries which straightened after pitching. But the No.3 batter is not overly bothered that the weakness could be exploited by the England bowlers.

“They (England) certainly can try (to bowl like that)," Labuschagne said. “India are very used to bowling those plans, that comes second nature to them. Bowling straight on lower bouncing wickets, up and down where it’s reversing.

“In England, traditionally, they’re bowling a little bit wider. I can’t tell you what they’re going to bring, but I can just prepare for everything that might be thrown at me. I really can’t wait for that challenge to face Jimmy (Anderson). You don’t take that many wickets and be England’s best ever without being quality," said Labuschagne.

He also gave his seal of approval to the appointment of Pat Cummins as skipper of the Australian Test side and Steve Smith as his deputy.

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first published:December 04, 2021, 10:40 IST