Labuschagne's Form Under Scrutiny as Australia's Batting Faces Pressure

Labuschagne’s Form Under Scrutiny as Australia’s Batting Faces Pressure

Despite Australia’s victory in the second Test against New Zealand, concerns linger over the team’s batting performance. Marnus Labuschagne, once a cornerstone of the batting order, has endured a lean run of form, raising questions about his place in the side.

Labuschagne’s recent struggles have seen his Test average drop below 50, a significant decline from his peak of over 60 in December 2022. However, captain Pat Cummins remains adamant that Labuschagne’s position is secure.

“Absolutely not,” Cummins said when asked if Labuschagne was under pressure. “I think he’d be the first to admit he’d like to score some more runs. But it’s not through lack of trying in the nets.”

Cummins emphasized that the team believes in Labuschagne’s ability and that his struggles are temporary. “We’re very clear that these six guys are the six best batters in Australia,” he said.

While Labuschagne’s form has been a concern, the entire batting group has come under scrutiny. Australia’s second innings collapse in Wellington, where they were bowled out for just 164, highlighted the need for improvement.

Coach Andrew McDonald acknowledged the need for the batters to perform collectively. “We want the top six, seven batters to be performing as a collective,” he said. “So I think while the rest are performing around that and you’re winning games of cricket, I think the concern levels are fractionally lower.”

McDonald also expressed concerns about Alex Carey’s dismissals in Wellington, where he holed out to cover twice. “They’re going on at the moment,” McDonald said. “He’s disappointed with that as a method to Glenn Phillips.”

Overall, McDonald believes the batting group can improve, particularly in the third innings of matches. “We feel like we can be better,” he said. “We feel as though at times we have underachieved with the bat which has left games open.”

Cummins echoed McDonald’s sentiments, calling for the batters to be more ruthless. “I think it’s something we can get better at, the whole 11 batters, particularly around that third innings where the game seems to speed up a little bit,” he said.