Pat Cummins' emphatic response amid questions over Marnus Labuschagne's Test spot

Labuschagne notched some unwanted history in an underwhelming display against New Zealand.

Marnus Labuschagne's place in Australia's Test cricket side is safe according to Pat Cummins, with the Aussie captain describing the 29-year-old as one of the top 6 batters in the country. Labuschagne is going through a worryingly lean period with the bat that culminated in his lowest combined scores for a Test match in which he batted in both innings.

Labuschagne went for scores of one and two in Australia's 172-run victory over New Zealand in the first Test at Wellington's Basin Reserve. It continued a retched run of form for the Aussi No.3, who has only made one century in his last 37 Test innings, and only passed 50 on six occasions during that time.

Pictured left to right, Aussie captain Pat Cummins and Marnus Labuschagne.
Aussie captain Pat Cummins has provided an emphatic answer to questions about Marnus Labuschagne's spot in the Test side. Pic: Getty

In his last six innings, Labuschagne has made scores of 10, one not out, three, five, one and two, and his career average has dropped from 60.82 to under 50 in just 12 months. SEN's Gerard Whateley said after his latest failure with the bat that Labuschagne looked "totally lost" and would be haunted by the technical flaws in his game at the moment.

Speaking ahead of Australia's second Test in Christchurch though, Cummins says Labuschagne's spot in the Aussie batting line-up is not in danger. The Aussie skipper conceded that everyone goes through dips in form but said the beauty of the current side is that when someone is not firing, others will inevitably stand up and deliver. Cummins was emphatic when asked whether Labuschagne was at risk of being dropped.

Pat Cummins backs Marnus Labuschagne

“Absolutely not," he said. “He’d be the first to admit he’d like to score some more runs, and it’s not through lack of trying in the nets. Particularly in the second innings, it was just one of those ones down leg.

"We’re very clear that these six guys are the best six batters in Australia. Although at times it might not have clicked all at once, the story of our team has been someone’s been able to stand up when they need to. Everyone’s going well.”

Steve Smith is another Aussie batter whose form has come under the microscope, with the veteran failing to fire since moving to the top of the order to replace the retired David Warner. Smith laboured to 31 off 71 in the first innings against the Kiwis, before being dismissed for a duck in the second innings.

Seen here, Marnus Labuschagne walks off after getting out cheaply against New Zealand.
Marnus Labuschagne walks off after getting out cheaply against New Zealand in the first Test. Pic: Getty

Cam Green and Nathan Lyon star in first Test win

Cameron Green's stunning first innings century (174 not out) set up the win for the Aussies and cemented his spot at No.4, after questions had also been asked about the 24-year-old. Green was named man-of-the-match, despite spinner Nathan Lyon taking 10 wickets for the match for the fifth time in his career. Lyon's stunning display included 6-65 in New Zealand's second innings.


Cummins admitted that having a bowler of the calibre of Lyon at his disposal was a "captain’s dream" and allowed him to be more aggressive with field placements than he otherwise might be. “There’s a real sense of calm out there when you know you’ve got someone that good on a wicket that’s giving him a little bit of help," Cummins said about Lyon.

“It’s fun really. You can get creative with some of the field placements, knowing he’s going to land it exactly where you want it to. I thought he was brilliant over the last couple of days, bouncing through a few different plans, but it just always felt like he was in control. We had plan B, C, D that we could go to as well, but it never really felt like we had to.”

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