Marnus Labuschagne will be hoping his 52 against NSW is enough to shore up his n spot.Marnus Labuschagne’s hold on his Test spot is becoming increasingly tenuous as national selectors piece together the XI they will entrust to trump India and win back the n public.
Wednesday would have been a reasonably stressful 48th birthday for national coach Justin Langer, who met with selectors prior to overseeing ‘s Twenty20 series opener against India.
A squad for the first two Tests is expected to be revealed in coming days before the next Sheffield Shield round starts on Tuesday.
‘s top six is in a state of flux, in terms of personnel but also the batting order.
The recent form of Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Labuschagne, who all made their Test debuts last month in the UAE, suggests they are far from automatic selections.
But after four Sheffield Shield rounds, former Dutch international Tom Cooper remains the only batsman to have scored more than one century.
It highlights the nation’s lack of batting depth, exacerbated by Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft’s suspensions.
The absence of any batsman demanding selection with a couple of big hundreds is expected to count in the favour of Finch, who hasn’t played a first-class game since the second Test against Pakistan, and Head, who may have saved his spot with a recent knock of 87 in the Sheffield Shield.
Labuschagne could potentially survive the axe for similar reasons, having produced a half-century against NSW’s Test attack in Canberra, but he is clearly under the pump.
Former Test batsman Alex Doolan and would-be debutant Marcus Harris, openers who lead the Shield run-scoring list, headline the contenders in the mix to dislodge Labuschagne from the XI.
Complicating matters is Usman Khawaja’s knee injury and ‘s uncertain opening partnership.
Khawaja reaffirmed on Wednesday he is confident of returning at the Gabba next week, where Queensland host a Victorian outfit brimming with contenders to be the reserve paceman in the Test squad.
“If everything keeps going well – and nothing major happens from here on in – yeah I think I’ll be fine,” Khawaja told Macquarie Sports Radio.
“It’s going really well. Running, batting, doing everything.”
Khawaja opened with Finch against Pakistan.
The left-hander, whose stunning knock of 141 helped salvage a dramatic draw in Dubai, insists he is content to open or return to first drop.
“I’m happy to bat wherever. I said that to Painey (skipper Tim Paine) a while ago,” Khawaja said.
“It doesn’t bother me.”
Paine and selectors may be hesitant to ask Finch and one of Doolan or Harris to see off the new ball.
Shaun Marsh, the nation’s form batsman after backing up an ODI century with a match-winning knock of 163 not out for Western , is another contender to open.