Aaron Finch points out Australia’s middle order struggles. Australia has won four of its previous five home Tests, but its batting has left much to be desired.
Australia thrashed Pakistan in a three-match home Test series from December 2023 to January 2024. But their batting lineup tested on a few occasions. The similar narrative played out in the just finish two-match Test series against the West Indies. As Caribbean pacers made life difficult for Australia’s batting lineup, particularly the middle order. The series ended with a 1-1 draw.
Only two individual hundreds recorded by Australian hitters in the last five Test matches.
They originated from Travis Head and David Warner’s blades. In their final game, Australia collapsed to 8 for 94 in their chase of 216 against the West Indies, ultimately losing by eight runs. Despite being reduce to 54/5 in the first innings, Khawaja, Alex Carey, and Pat Cummins saved the innings.
The ever-dependable Marnus Labuschagne has been going through a bad patch. As he made just 18 runs in three entire innings against the West Indies. His season average is a dismal 28.25. Meanwhile, Head scored a royal pair in the second Test at the Gabba. He score an incredible 119 in the first Test against the West Indies, but couldn’t get past 40 in the remaining innings in the last five Tests.
“If you have a terrible series in two Tests like Marnus [Labuschagne], that’s fine; everyone does at some point, but there aren’t enough hundreds. “There are some cracks that have been paper over by Usman Khawaja and the bowlers who have done an excellent job for a long time. ” He said.
Marnus Labuschagne looks to be squaring up a little bit with his right shoulder: Michael Clarke
Another former Australian captain, Michael Clarke, pointed out a technical issue in Labuschagne. The cricketer-turned-commentator noted that Labuschagne square up to back-of-a-length deliveries rather than remaining side-on, which is why he is being caught at slips or gully. Clarke believes that every batter experiences difficult phases and hopes to regain form during Australia’s next two-match Test trip of New Zealand in February-March.
“The only thing I can see technically is that he just looks to be squaring up a little bit with his right shoulder. So mainly the balls that are that back-of-a-length, instead of staying really side on like he does and back-foot defends the ball to cover or to point, or even drops it to his feet, he’s just squaring up a little bit. And that’s why he’s playing a little in front of himself, edging it to a second, third [slip], gully area. Again, he’s such a good player, he’ll go away now, he’ll work on that before New Zealand. You can’t write Marnus off. He’s batting at No. 3 which is one of the toughest positions in Test cricket. Don’t be surprise if he comes out against New Zealand and he’s the leading run-scorer. Every top-class batsman goes through a stage like this. ” Clarke said.
“I believe that has been highlight in his strike rate as well. You enter into a defensive mindset, thinking about survival first and then cashing in later. But the wickets they’ve been playing on, you don’t get that chance to cash in. – It’s not like they flatten out and become absolute roads where you can bat for two days; we simply don’t see it anymore,” Finch said of Labuschagne’s problems.
Meanwhile, Callum Ferguson stated that Labuschagne isn’t the only Australian hitter who is facing side on. The former stated that the Australians will have to correct their mechanical shortcomings before the New Zealand tour, since batting will be difficult in the seamer-friendly conditions prevalent there.
“I don’t think Marnus is the only one who gets caught out while squaring up. This can be attribute to batting on bowler-friendly tracks. You just become out of shape, so they’re going to have to work hard before they travel to New Zealand to get a little more side on, a couple of them, and then start playing a little later. Because there will be seaming, swinging conditions in New Zealand, and the Kiwis are quite proficient at making the most of those pitches,” Ferguson added.