Marnus Labuschagne wants to make the most important position in Australia’s top six his own, declaring he finds it easier batting higher up the order.
Labuschagne, who scored 38 at the SCG after being recalled for the fourth Test against India, is expected to be retained in Australia’s squad for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka.
His shock inclusion at No.3 in Sydney reflects how highly coach Justin Langer and selectors rate the 24-year-old.
Labuschagne’s first-class batting averaging of 33.17 was the lowest for a player selected to bat at No.3 in Australia’s Test side since Kim Hughes in 1979.
First drop has previously been the domain of Don Bradman, Neil Harvey, Ian Chappell and Ricky Ponting, while Steve Smith excelled in the all-important post during the 2015 Ashes.
The pressure-laden promotion sat just fine with Labuschagne, who hopes to remain at No.3 if picked in the squad named on Wednesday.
“Absolutely. Anyone who gets the opportunity to bat at three for their country wants to make it their own,” Labuschagne told reporters.
“I actually found it a bit easier to go out there (early in the innings) because it’s somewhere I’m really used to batting.
“I’m not a great waiter to bat, I love getting out there.
“So it was actually really good. I think it played in my favour really, to be able to get out there as quick as I can and get into the battle.”
Labuschagne was slated to bat at No.6 during his debut Test series against Pakistan.
Smith and David Warner’s looming returns suggest the right-hander may be forced down the order later this year in England, presuming he remains in the XI.
Australia’s two-match series against Sri Lanka, which starts in Brisbane on January 24, will be their final Tests before a daunting Ashes tour.
“I would love it (being part of an Ashes series) … there’s a lot of cricket to be played until then,” Labuschagne said.
“I just have to get better at converting those starts to bigger scores .. it was frustrating not to go on with it (at the SCG).
“Technically my game is in a good place, I feel like I’m batting really well.”