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With Ashwin, it's more of a chess game: Marnus Labuschagne

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Last updated on 08 Feb 2023 | 04:48 AM
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With Ashwin, it's more of a chess game: Marnus Labuschagne

In the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the battle between Ashwin and Steve Smith took centre stage for the way the former kept on changing his strategy

It is already nine years since Australia won a Border-Gavaskar Trophy in either part of the world and they seem determined to reverse the fortune in the forthcoming series, starting February 9 in Nagpur. With Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, they have two fantastic players of spin-bowling but they will be wary of India’s spin troika of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel - who have kind of made surgical attacks on the opposition on a regular basis.

In the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the battle between Ashwin and Steve Smith took centre stage for the way, the former kept on changing his strategy and emerged as one of India’s most successful bowlers throughout. Labuschagne is a big fan of that and stated that playing against Ashwin is like playing a game of chess.

“With Ashwin, it's more a chess game. He's willing to bowl ugly, which very few other spin bowlers like to do. He's willing to bowl ugly to be effective. You saw that in Australia where he just bowled as we could call it in Australia, 'negative' lines but it's great cricket. You are making the batters not be able to score. You're tying them down, tying them down. And then what he does great is then he attacks your outside edge off the pressure that he's built there (like he did at the MCG). But it's great,” Labuschagne said in an interview with Cricbuzz. 

Also Read: A series filled with intriguing sub-plots

One of the prime reasons that Ashwin has attributed to his batting is the way he follows a batter like watching tons of footages and understanding the patterns and their weaknesses. That has come in handy for him in most situations and Labuschagne believes that it would be important for them to dictate the game a bit more.

“So when I'm out there, and when we moved to the SCG, Smudge and I played him very well there and we came up with some great options and probably dictated play a little bit more. Rather than him dictating play like he did in the first few games. Obviously, Adelaide was a little bit of a tough wicket, pink ball, slid on quite sharply. The MCG spun big in the first two sessions. 

“I think the challenge is as much thought as he has put into coming at me, I know he would have looked at how I swept and knew that when I did something I was sweeping. I'd have to go away and make sure that when I am sweeping or doing different things in my game, it's not predictable and that he can't read it. That's made me a better player since our last encounter. And hopefully, that can come through in this series,” the Australian No.3 added.

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