Marnus Labuschagne added to Australia squad for Sydney Test
Marnus Labuschagne picked up seven wickets in the UAE. (AFP Image)

In order to avoid their first series defeat to India on home soil, Australia have added Marnus Labuschagne for the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy starting in Sydney from January 3. Labuschagne’s inclusion puts further into question Australia’s fragile batting, which struggled in Melbourne and allowed India to register a 137-run win to take a 2-1 series lead.

Labuschagne is a batsman who can bowl leg spin, and it is understood that his inclusion may be more because of his bowling than his abilities with the bat. The leg-spinning allrounder made his Test debut in the UAE against Pakistan but lost his place to Mitchell Marsh and Peter Handscomb for the series against India.

“We’ll get up to Sydney and have a look at the conditions,” skipper Tim Paine said while confirming Labuschagne’s inclusion. “From what we’re hearing, it’ll probably spin quite a bit so once we see that for ourselves, we’ll start to think about the best combination for ourselves to win that Test. We think we’ve got the best group of players available to us at the moment and we’ll pick the best combination for that group that we think will win the last Test.”

Labuschagne picked up seven wickets and scored 81 runs against Pakistan but more recently, did well in the Sheffield Shield tournament, scoring 52, 4, 47, 21 and 78 in his final three matches for Queensland. Trailing the series, Australia seem to be pulling out all the stops.

“We’re not quite sure what we’re going to get with the Sydney wicket,” Australia’s assistant coach Brad Haddin told SEN. He also agreed that Australia’s batting remains a concern and something that needs to be looked into.

“The last few Shield games have been draws, it’s been flat and starting to turn late. There will be questions asked. There has to be,” Haddin said. “You’ve got to start asking questions. If you’re not performing with the bat or the ball, questions will be asked. That’s part and parcel of international cricket. You can’t hide away from the pressure… there is a lot of hurt from everyone in that change room. As coaching staff, we have to find that consistency with our players.”