Marnus Labuschagne: Faced with Ravichandran, Ashwin felt like he was playing chess
Marnus Labuschagne, the world’s No. 1 Test hitter, said he enjoyed his duels with Indian out-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and called him “the game’s big thinker”.
“He’s very good at evaluating batsmen, and that’s why I liked playing him,” Labuschagne said. sports star.
Ashwin took 12 wickets in three Tests at the last Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia. He now has 430 Test wickets and is five shy of overtaking Kapil Dev’s tally.
In a recent interview with The cricket monthly, Ashwin explained how he picked up on certain cues each time Labuschagne beat. “He goes out, he hits the ball over the corner of the cow for an offspinner, or he hits it halfway. It’s very rarely long. And he doesn’t have a flat sweep, he has a turn sweep, like a paddle. All of these shots have a trigger. And that’s fine. If you don’t know or haven’t seen enough footage, you can’t pick up these things,” had said Ashwin.
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Recalling his confrontations with Ashwin from the four-game Test series of the 2020-21 tour, Labuschagne said: “He took over some things that I do when I play certain shots. That’s why I like these four-game series. -five because you can’t be happy with what you have as a hitter or you will be discovered by quality bowlers.
“What I liked the most about Ashwin was the fields he had for me and the way I was trying to move the field in my effort to score points. Just the way we both was able to cut and change in the middle of a gripping pass. It almost felt like a game of chess. He bowled beautifully in Melbourne… got some early wickets with the leg slip.
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“Smith and I played it well in Sydney. We have a few sub-continental tours ahead of my next trip to India, and hopefully I can challenge myself in those conditions. I have a few tricks up my sleeve (smiles)!”
Leg traps from Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah have gotten the better of Australia’s top hitters on several occasions in this Test series. The leg slip or leg gully had accounted for at least one dismissal from Steven Smith and Labuschagne. However, both batters scored freely in Sydney, with Smith even getting a hundred first innings and Labuschagne trailing one by nine runs. Labuschagne attributed the turnaround to the change in venue and conditions. “In Sydney the wicket was better, you could trust the rebound and play those shots to the side of the leg…it wasn’t so much a tactical change from Melbourne to Sydney as conditions improved for hitting and we were able to hitting freely from the side,” he said.
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“We started in Adelaide and it was quite difficult to score there because of the pink ball and the wicket had a variable bounce. Melbourne had some grass and I got 48 from 150 (132) before to be caught in the back square.
“In the second inning Ashwin took me out in the first round – from the round of the wicket he played the undercutter…what you have to remember is that some shots are just harder to play in some conditions…I may have a plan to negotiate the fields but sometimes you are defeated by the location.”