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Australia v India

Australia add Marnus Labuschagne to Test squad for Sydney

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Australia have added spin-bowling all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne to their Test squad for the fourth and final Test against India beginning January 3 in Sydney.

Australia go into the New Year’s Test with the series on the line after a 137-run loss in Melbourne gave India an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

With the wicket at Sydney expected to be dry, the extra spin-bowling option could come handy for the hosts.

“We’ll get up to Sydney and have a look at the conditions,” Australia captain Tim Paine said after the defeat at Melbourne while confirming Labuschagne’s inclusion in the squad.

“From what we’re hearing, it’ll probably spin quite a bit so once we see that for ourselves, we’ll start to think about the best combination for ourselves to win that Test.”

Labuschagne, who made his Test debut in the United Arab Emirates in the Test series against Pakistan in October this year, returned seven wickets at 22 with his leg-spin and has since strengthened his batting repertoire as well with scores of 52, 4, 47, 21 and 78 in his last five first-class innings.

“We think we’ve got the best group of players available to us at the moment and we’ll pick the best combination for that group that we think will win the last Test,” Paine said, holding his cards regarding the possible XI for Sydney.

Expected to be slotted in the middle order, Labuschagne could replace Mitchell Marsh in the XI, who failed with the bat in both innings and returned 0/51 with the ball.

Squad: Tim Paine (c & wk), Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Marsh, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc

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