Australia’s batting star Marnus Labuschagne reckons that the hosts are slightly ahead after Day 1 of the fourth and final Test against India at The Gabba. Labuschagne scored his fifth Test hundred that propelled Australia to 274/5 in 87 overs at Stumps on an opening day in Brisbane. The 26-year-old, who scored his fifth ton in 18 matches, was disappointed for missing out on a ‘big score but praised the ‘very disciplined’ Indian bowling attack for a good show on Friday. Also Read - ICC T20I Rankings 2021: Virat Kohli Climbs to 6th Spot, KL Rahul Retains Second Position in Batsmen's Tally
After losing both openers – David Warner and Marcus Harris cheaply – Labuschagne joined forces with Steve Smith to rebuild Australia’s innings. The duo added 70 runs for the third wicket before Smith got out to debutant off-spinner Washington Sundar for 36. Also Read - David Warner Admits Rushing Injury Return For India Test Series Was a Mistake
“…I think, I am definitely disappointed not going on and getting a really big score, which would have put us in a better position as a team,” Labuschagne said at the virtual post-play press-conference. Also Read - India vs England 2021: Fit Umesh Yadav Likely to Replace Jasprit Bumrah in Team India's Playing XI For 4th Test in Ahmedabad
“Any Test century, it doesn’t matter who it is against or against what opposition, you want to make sure you are scoring hundreds and probably for me today it was disappointing that (I) did not end up making that a really big hundred,” he stressed.
Labuschagne, who was dropped on 37 by India captain Ajinkya Rahane at gully off Navdeep Saini’s bowling, also added 113 runs for the fourth wicket with Matthew Wade.
However, he credited the Indian bowlers for being disciplined early on and hardly giving away any scoring opportunities. “…Indian bowling attacks, they are very disciplined and doesn’t matter who is bowling, they are very planned, they are very strategic and we saw that today with their bowling attack.
“They were disciplined early and did not give us many of those scoring opportunities in the first session,” the right-handed batsman said.
He said he worked to his plan, which was to tire out the bowlers and then pick scoring chances.
“I think when you are playing really good teams, it doesn’t matter who comes in, everyone in that line-up is very disciplined, they understand their role, you know they are very skilled bowlers.
“So, it was sort of a matter of discipline early on, specially in the first session and half, making sure you get yourself in, you get pace of the wicket. So that you can really cash in when the bowlers are little-bit tired and there are a bit cooked, he added.
Labuschagne was facing a relatively new Indian attack and he conceded that he had to make some plans on the run.”I think that is a part of the game, that is really enjoyable, you got to read the situation out there. Definitely made some plans on the run today,” he said.
Labuschagne also said that India’s decision to go with an extra bowler “probably paid off for them” after speedster Saini had to leave the field because of a groin injury.
He also credited all-rounder Cameron Green – 28 not out – and skipper Tim Paine – 38 not out – for holding fort till the end after Australia lost two quick wickets in the final session.
Labuschagne also spoke about off-field controversies around Smith and said that kind of stuff doesn’t really concern the star when he comes out to bat.
Smith was criticised by fans on social media and a few former cricketers for scuffing up Rishabh Pant’s guard on the final day of the Sydney Test, which ended in a draw, a charge termed ludicrous by head coach Justin Langer.
“…that stuff doesn’t really concern him, he is focussing on the ball and scoring runs. If anything, it gives him extra motivation to put big runs on the board, so I don’t think that outside stuff comes into play when he is actually out there in the middle at all,” he signed off.