Labuschagne and Smith, the leading Aussie duo
Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith have been the two pillars of the Australian batting line up in recent times.
The Australian batting strength has declined over the last few years. Rewind 20 years and you had the likes of Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey making the Australian batting line up.
The Oz batting of today is a pale shadow of the yesteryear. The team is struggling to find support for their two leading batsmen Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith.
Labuschagne, in fact, finished as the top run scorer in the last World test Championship cycle from 2019 to 2021 and scored 1675 runs from 13 matches at an average of 72.82 at a strike rate of 55.85 with 5 centuries and 9 half centuries.
He struck 186 boundaries and had the best of 215.
Labuschagne’s idol Steve Smith was not behind and made 1341 runs from 13 matches in the last World test Championship cycle at an average of 63.85 and strike rate of 53.4. Smith struck 4 centuries and 7 half centuries over the last two years.
Given that Steve Smith has always fired against India, it came as a welcome relief when he struggled to get going in the first two test matches on India’s recent tour of Australia, with Ravichandran Ashwin getting the better of him.
As anticipated, Smith bounced back in style in the 3rd test match, making 131 and 81 in the two innings as he walked away with the player of the match award despite the match ending in a draw.
This is what the batting maestro had to say after receiving the award:
“India fought really hard. Our bowlers kept coming and coming, and did their hardest today. On day three or four, we felt that a few kept low, few that bounced a bit more. But there was not much of it today. They fought really hard. Always means a lot when you score a hundred for your country. To be able to do that here on my home ground is pretty special.”
“Wanted to be a little bit more aggressive at times, went up and down through the gears throughout my innings, absorbed the pressure when needed to. Not too much else, just watched the ball hard and concentrated well. Nice to spend some time. The award doesn’t mean a lot now as we didn’t win the game.”