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Australia vs India, 2020-21 – Marnus Labuschagne enters the new year with a new challenge

Australia vs India, 2020-21 - Marnus Labuschagne enters the new

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India’s attack has built huge pressure on Australia’s batsmen by stemming their scoring rate

Marnus Labuschagne started 2020 with a double-century against New Zealand at the SCG. What Australia would give for even half that when they take on India in Sydney next week with the Test series locked at 1-1.

In many ways, Labuschagne is lower down Australia’s list of concerns when it comes to their batting line-up: he has faced the most deliveries and scored the most runs in the two Tests so far. That does, though, come from a pretty low base with the home side having limped to totals of 191, 195 and 200 in their three completed innings.

Dismantling India for 36 meant it did not prove costly in Adelaide, but at the MCG their under-par first-innings total was significantly overhauled by India and then they could only muster a lead of 69.

However, Labuschagne’s series is also part of the problem. Three times he has got himself well set at the crease but has been unable to pass fifty. Compare that to last season against New Zealand and Pakistan, where he only failed to reach fifty once in eight innings, and converted four of those to hundreds, of which the smallest was 143.

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