Marnus makes most of his chance to end run of poor form

Ben McKay |

Marnus Labuschagne believes the Hagley Oval wicket contributed to his form reversal.
Marnus Labuschagne believes the Hagley Oval wicket contributed to his form reversal.

Marnus Labuschagne knows he didn’t need runs to stay in the Test team.

As the fastest Australian to 3000 Test runs since Donald Bradman, Labuschagne has earned the right to selection that defies a small form dip.

However, Australia’s No.3 knew he needed runs to contribute, which is why his anchoring innings of 90 against New Zealand came at the right time.

Labuschagne came into the Christchurch Test – his 50th for Australia – in the worst form of his career, a run of six innings without getting past 10.

He put paid to any doubters with a superb innings, including 12 fours, which only ended when Glenn Phillips took a screamer at gully.

The 29-year-old said he felt the Hagley Oval wicket contributed to his form reversal.

“Sometimes a certain wicket forces your hand,” he said.

“You could score the whole time. If they missed full, you could drive. If they missed short, you could cut, you could pull.

“There was that nice pace in the wicket, which was good for scoring.

“Sometimes when you’re playing at the Gabba, you’re playing in Adelaide where it’s a bit tennis-bally and slow, it can be tough to play a similar innings.

“So it’s finding the right balance for the different kinds of conditions, and it was nice to find it.”

Depending on his second-innings output, the knock should be enough to get his Test average back above 50, given the form slump had ticked it below the golden figure.

Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne broke his recent run of poor form by scoring 90 at Hagley Oval. (AP PHOTO)

While he missed out in Adelaide, Brisbane and Wellington, Labuschagne said the team environment meant he never felt pressure.

“Pressure? I mean obviously, to score runs for my team, yeah, absolutely,” he said.

“I want to score runs. I want us to be winning games. I want us when we’re on top, to stay on top.

“If you asked me did I feel like I was going to lose my spot, I’d say no.

“That’s what the confidence of this team has done.

“The coaches, selectors, the captain, they’re very clear with trusting in the players and trusting that, yes, we do have the best six, seven batters in the country here.

“If you’re going through a rough patch, what we’ve been able (to do) over a period of time, everyone’s picking up each other’s slack when someone’s not doing well, someone else picks it up.”