Marnus Labuschagne has starred in 2019.
Marnus Labuschagne has starred in 2019.

Skipper can’t see Marnus’ bubble bursting

Tim Paine has lauded the secret bravery of Marnus Labuschagne and feels there is no way his bubble is going to burst.

The No.3 position in the Test batting order has proven a poisoned chalice for Australian cricket over the past decade, with more than a dozen players passing through the revolving door since the retirement of the great Ricky Ponting.

But Paine revealed yesterday Labuschagne did not fear becoming another statistic, and in fact actively campaigned to be entrusted with the heavy-duty responsibility of anchoring the line-up.

 

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Labuschagne was offered the easier entry into the Test match cauldron at No.5, but wouldn't cop any suggestion of a soft landing and has delivered with back-to-back centuries.

"I think there was a conversation at one stage about maybe moving him down the order and starting him at 5, but he didn't want a bar of it," said Paine.

"He definitely wanted it. He wanted to go out at No.3. He wants to be a star Test match international cricketer and he sees himself as a No.3. He wants that challenge.

"We're obviously rapt with the way he's started in that position and look forward to watching him continue to get better.

"He'd be hard to move out of there now, that's for sure."

This summer isn't the first time Labuschagne - who is averaging 53 from 11 Tests - laid bare his warrior-like instincts.

Back in the New Year, with Australia at rock bottom after surrendering a series on home soil to India, selectors wielded the axe and asked a new look team to go to battle at the SCG for a lost cause.

 

Tim Paine has lauded teammate Marnus Labuschagne. Picture: AAP Images
Tim Paine has lauded teammate Marnus Labuschagne. Picture: AAP Images

Ahead of other more experienced campaigners like Shaun Marsh, Travis Head and Peter Handscomb, 25-year-old greenhorn Labuschagne again put his hand up to take the bullets at No.3 and wouldn't have it any other way.

At the Gabba, after David Warner and Joe Burns at put on more than 200 runs for the first wicket, coach Justin Langer also floated the idea of promoting Steve Smith to No.3.

Labuschagne glared at him and retorted with something along the lines of, 'you've got to be kidding.'

Greg Chappell - himself one of Australia's premier No.3 batsmen - said last week that Labuschagne has the ability and demeanour to follow in the footsteps of he, and others like Ponting, Ian Chappell and Sir Donald Bradman who made first drop their own.

News Corp Australia

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