Australian cricket legend Ian Chappell says Marnus Labuschagne could yet face the biggest challenge of his career when his run of good fortune comes to an end.
Labuschagne made his first century of the summer on day one at the Gabba, but has been a consistent scorer at number three for Australia throughout the series — but not without some good fortune.
He has been dropped on five occasions this series, many of them early in his innings at great cost to the touring Indians.
Chappell says that run of good luck hasn’t been limited to this summer and will eventually go the other way.
“The consistency Marnus Labuschagne has shown has been incredible, he’s had an incredible run of consistent scores,” he said.
“Now, he’s been extremely lucky, not just this season but prior to that as well. At some point that luck is going to run against him, and that will be a challenge for him.
“That’s the sort of challenge you expect to get as a Test player, and how he overcomes those will be worth watching.”
Despite the warning, Chappell says Labuschagne’s hold on the number three spot is a massive boost for an Australian batting order that remains in some flux.
“The Australian side, really since Ricky Ponting, hasn’t had a good number three or a permanent number three,” he said.
“You had Shaun Marsh who did quite well at times but would have patches of really bad form, and then there was the injury problems. Then you had Usman Khawaja who you could really only bat at three in Australia, and outside of Australia he struggled.
“So Marnus has proved that he’s good enough to do the job. The other thing that impressed me is that he wanted the job, he volunteered for the number three position when there weren’t too many volunteers around.”
Chappell was also impressed with how Tim Paine batted in the first innings at the Gabba, in the wake of some criticism of his performance and conduct in Sydney.
“There was a determination to his batting and I thought he played pretty well in this innings here,” he said.
“He’s done a very good job as captain in difficult circumstances, I would give full credit to him that’s he been able to turn things around. not only with how they are playing on the field, but with Australia’s reputation as well.
“I think Tim Paine has to get a lot of credit for how that has progressed.
“I reckon that moment the ball hit the ground when he dropped Ravichandran Ashwin, having had words with Ashwin just prior to that … he probably thought ‘I’ve just made a big blunder’.
“That’s how you don’t let the pressure pile up on you too much. If you set your own standards, whether they be playing standards or behaving standards, then on the days you don’t meet those standards you go away and evaluate.
“That way to me you’re not letting the outside pressure pile up on you.”