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Ashes: Marnus Labuschagne expects Australia to end England resistance with new ball

Bundled out for a meagre 147 in their first innings, England produced a vastly improved batting display in the second to finish Day 3 on 220-2.

By: Reuters | Brisbane |
December 10, 2021 3:49:51 pm
Marnus Labuschagne, AshesAustralia's Marnus Labuschagne bats during day two of the first Ashes cricket Test at the Gabba in Brisbane. (AP)

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne is not surprised by England’s stirring fightback in the opening Ashes Test in Brisbane but expects his bowling teammates to wreak havoc with the new ball when play resumes on Saturday.

Bundled out for a meagre 147 in their first innings, England produced a vastly improved batting display in the second to finish day three on 220-2, still 58 runs behind at the Gabba.

Captain Joe Root and number three batsman Dawid Malan remained unbeaten after defiant half-centuries having forged a 159-run partnership for the still-flourishing third wicket to drag England back into the contest.

“It’s test cricket, you never expect any test nation, especially when you’re playing England in the Ashes, to come in and roll over and you’re going to knock them over,” Labuschagne, who contributed 74 to Australia’s first innings total of 425, told reporters.

“Test cricket is a grind, it’s meant to be hard, otherwise it wouldn’t mean so much to both countries.

“So for us, it’s just a day at the office and we make sure we come back tomorrow, review our plans how we bowled today, and come up with some ideas and get those last eight weeks.”

Root and Malan frustrated Australia with their defiant stand but Labuschagne was hopeful Australia’s pace attack, led by captain Pat Cummins, could make the new ball count on the penultimate day.

“The new ball is crucial. There can be long partnerships and then all of a sudden you can lose bang-bang-bang quick wickets,” Labuschagne said.

“If we can put that new ball in the right areas and get a couple of wickets with that new ball, it can really turn quickly.”

Australia opener David Warner, who made 94, spent much of the third day’s play off the field with bruised ribs.

Warner was hit by Mark Wood and Ben Stokes on Thursday and while scans showed no break, the 35-year-old has suffered severe bruising.

“Those two blows to the rib, that’s why he was not fielding today. I don’t really know too much about that apart from that,” Labuschagne added.

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