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Labuschagne takes comfort in Khawaja

Marnus Labuschagne will lean on his experience of Usman Khawaja when he bats at No.3 for Australia.

Labuschagne takes comfort in Khawaja

Marnus Labuschagne will lean on his experience of Usman Khawaja when he bats at No.3 for Australia.

MARNUS LABUSCHAGNE of Quennsland bats during the Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and Queensland at MCG in Melbourne, Australia.
MARNUS LABUSCHAGNE of Quennsland bats during the Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and Queensland at MCG in Melbourne, Australia. Picture:Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Marnus Labuschagne will take confidence in homely comforts if he joins Usman Khawaja at the crease in his first innings as Australia's No.3 batsman against India in Sydney.

Labuschagne was parachuted into Australia's top order on Thursday, confirmed as the team's first drop at the SCG after having batted primarily as a No.6 in his only two previous Tests in the UAE.


He's likely to face a crucial first hit in the role, with Australia on the back foot after Cheteshwar Pujara's 130 not out helped India to 4-303 on the first day of the final Test of the four-match series.

A lively Queensland talent, Labuschagne is close with Khawaja from their time together in the Bulls set up, and the 24-year-old said he'd stuck close to the side's most experienced batsman and new opener.

"I've played a lot of cricket with Uzzy back at Queensland and we've batted a lot together," Labuschagne said.

"We actually enjoy batting together a lot. There's a lot of banter out in the middle."

Friday's play will be vital to the host's chances of levelling the series at 2-2, and preventing India from walking away with their first ever Test series win in Australia.

And Labuschagne said he wouldn't feel the need to change his game with the elevated position and responsibility following his surprise recall.

"At the end of the day we all have our own game plans and way we play," he said.

"It's about being confident in that and being able to do it over and over again like Pujara showed today. He's got his game plan, he just keeps going with the same thing."

Brought into the team to add an extra bowling option, Labuschagne said he'd doubled the amount of time spent working on his legspin bowling.

Prior to his Test debut in October the South African-born batting allrounder had taken just 12 wickets in first-class cricket and bowled only 77 overs, before claiming seven scalps in his two Tests in the UAE to finish 2018 as Australia's fifth leading wicket-taker.

He sent down just four overs on Thursday, but expected to have a role to play on day two.

"The amount of bowling since the UAE that I've done is a lot," he said.

"Trying to continue to improve my bowling and continuing to try and play that role I can play to give the quicks some relief and get some handy wickets."

AAP


AAP




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