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HomeAshesShould Australia be concerned about Marnus Labuschagne’s away Test record?

Should Australia be concerned about Marnus Labuschagne’s away Test record?

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Last Updated on 10 months by Charbel Coorey

Cricket News: Should Australia be concerned about Marnus Labuschagne’s away Test record? | What is Marnus Labuschagne’s away record?

Not too long ago, Marnus Labuschagne was top of the tree in the ICC Men’s Test batting rankings. Following a lean run of form, he has now dropped down to third spot, with his overseas record in the spotlight.

Labuschagne’s career average stood at a whopping 60.82 halfway through December 2022. However, over the next seven months, he has endured a steep decline.

He currently averages 53.81 in Test cricket; still quite impressive but a fair drop in a short space of time. Scoring runs at close to 54 is praiseworthy, and more so when it is done 41 matches and 72 innings into a career. But, is Labuschagne the Test batting great he is already made out to be?

Statistics often tell the story. With some context applied to Labuschagne’s Test numbers, one can conclude he is not at an elite level yet. He is, indeed, an incredibly talented batter, but there is something missing that separates him from the top Test batsmen.

Marnus Labuschagne’s Test record away from home: Should Australia be worried?

Labuschagne has scored 3,605 runs in his career to date across six different countries, including Australia. 37 out of his 72 Test innings have come at home, with the remaining 35 away.

An astonishing 66.50% of his Test runs have come in Australia. Specifically, he has scored 2,397 runs at home, with just 1,208 runs in England, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates combined in almost as many innings.

Outside Australia, the 29-year old averages more than 41 only in Sri Lanka. In all overseas Tests, he averages a mere 36.61.

At home, his conversion rate is magnificent. In the 18 innings where he notched a fifty, he has gone on to score a century in exactly half of them. On the contrary, he has just the one Test ton away from home – against Sri Lanka at Galle.

The fact that Labuschagne has managed to convert only one of his seven away fifties brings light to a weakness. Apart from the overseas conditions being challenging and different from the Australian conditions, Labuschagne is more susceptible to making critical errors. Whether it’s playing back to full deliveries by Ravindra Jadeja in India or defending deliveries way outside offstump in England, Labuschagne does not yet seem to have the same composure he does at home.

Cricket News: Should Australia be concerned about Marnus Labuschagne’s away Test record? | What is Marnus Labuschagne's away record?

Why there is every chance Labuschagne can turn his numbers around

Marnus getting a start then throwing his wicket away has almost become a pattern this year. He has scored at least 25 runs in nine of his last 13 innings, but has crossed the 45-run mark just twice. Australia’s number three is able to get in even on challenging surfaces, with his ability to adjust to conditions relatively quickly a key strength of his.

However, his inability to keep at it and play out the vital phases of play is a matter of concern for Australia.

This is what separates Marnus Labuschagne from someone like Steve Smith or Joe Root. Such batters have proven themselves in all sorts of conditions and in different parts of the world.

There are not many better than Smith when it comes to away Tests. He averages close to a whopping 55 away from home in 96 innings, making him an absolute genius and one of the greatest players to ever have played this format. Root averages over 47 across the 120 innings he has played outside England.

Although it is something that comes with experience, not everyone is capable of making those minor adjustments to their technique to adapt to different conditions. Smith, for example, is so often seen modifying his trigger movements just to feel comfortable at the crease and tackle the challenging surfaces.

Labuschagne has shown immense promise so far. Him not being able to perform as consistently overseas might worry Australia. But, for all that he has done at home, plus his ability to still get in despite not being in great form, makes him one to persist with without question.

Labuschagne and Australia are certainly not at a stage where they need to consider the number three’s position in away Tests. He remains a lock in the XI.

However, while he has the potential to end up as one of Australia’s Test greats, he must improve his overseas record significantly. Old Trafford would be a great starting point.

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