Australia call up all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne for final Test against India

Sport360 staff 18:18 30/12/2018
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An Australia Test recall for Marnus Labuschagne.

Following their 137-run loss in Melbourne, Australia have added all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne to the squad for the fourth and final Test of the series against India.

The hosts fell behind 1-2 in the four-match series after they folded for 261 runs in their second innings of the Boxing Day Test. With the prospect of a maiden Test series defeat to India at home staring at the face of Australia, Labuschagne has been recalled to the squad to provide more balance with his all-round abilities.

The hosts had included Mitchell Marsh in the playing XI for the third Test but the all-rounder failed to come up with the goods with scores of nine and 10 in the two innings. With the ball, Marsh bowled economically in the first innings but was unable to pick up a single wicket.

“As we’ve said all along, we know Mitch at his best can offer a lot to Australian cricket,” skipper Tim Paine stated after the loss.

“We just need to make sure he’s at his best more often than not and like the rest of us the gap between his best and his worst gets smaller all the time,” he added.

24-year-old Labuschagne made his Australia Test debut in the two-match series against Pakistan in the UAE in October. He made a top-score of 43 with the bat but impressed with his leg-spin which fetched him a total of seven wickets.

A poor run of form in Australia’s domestic Sheffield Shield cricket saw the all-rounder not considered for selection for the first three Tests against India.

With Sydney traditionally providing assistance to the spinners, Labuschagne could be a handy foil to Nathan Lyon for the hosts should he play.

The fourth and final Test of the series gets underway at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on January 3.

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