Marnus Labuschagne recalls battle with R Ashwin in 2021 Australian Test series

Australian star batting Marnus Labuschagne has praised Indian non-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin while recalling his duel with him at the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Labuschagne, the number one ranked Test hitter, praised the veteran off-spinner and said Ashwin is very good at evaluating hitters.

Archive image of Marnus Labuschagne. PA

The four-game Test series was won by India 2-1. Ashwin’s performance in the series was the highlight as he notched 12 wickets in the three games he was a part of and also fired Labuschagne twice, leading India to a second consecutive Test series victory Down Under .

Recalling his confrontation with Ashwin, Labuschagne said sports star that he enjoyed taking on the Indian off-spinner on the show. He felt that Ashwin had the ability to handle his opposition well and their battle was almost like a game of chess.

“What I loved the most about Ashwin was the pitches he had for me and the way I was trying to move the pitch in my effort to score points. Just the way we both been able to cut and change in the middle of a gripping pass,” the right-handed hitter said.

Labuschagne mentioned that since Ashwin took over some vital aspects of his stick, he had to constantly adapt on the court to stay in the game. This spurred Labuschagne to play better, and he found the game engrossing.

Labuschagne also praised Ashwin’s batting performance in the 2nd Test held in Melbourne, won by India.

However, he was quick to add that he and Steve Smith played Ashwin well in the 3rd Test in Sydney, which was a draw.

Recalling his performance during the series, Labuschagne said the change in venue and conditions also affected his performance during the game. He said Ashwin knocked him out in the second inning. The off-spinner first got Labuschagne out on the first slip-out of the wicket turn, then kicked the undercutter. The Aussie hitter mentioned that some shots are harder to play in certain conditions and sometimes shots aren’t negotiated on the pitch due to the venue.

Recently, Indian off-spinner Ashwin revealed in an interview with Monthly Cricket that he’s always been good at judging hitters and now has mastered the art taking it to another level. He had also mentioned how he had observed the stick of Labuschagne and noted certain clues. Ashwin had said the world’s No. 1 hitter in the Test would come out and hit the ball over the cow’s corner against an off-spinner, or could also hit it in the middle. Ashwin had seen a number of streaks of the Aussie hitter picking up his hitting style to plan his moves.

The Australian team will tour India in 2023 to play 4 Tests, 3 ODIs and as many T20Is. There are also plans to do some sub-continental tours later this year. Labuschagne has some new tricks up his sleeve and hopes he gets the chance to challenge himself on these sub-continental tours before touring India.

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