New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Marnus Labuschagne has played only 7 ODIs and 14 Test matches for Australia but has effectively proved his mettle in a very short span of time. From getting a chance in the absence of Steve Smith, Labuschagne cemented his place in both ODIs and Tests in the Australian national cricket team, thanks to his magnificent batting skills and handy leg-spin.

He was Test cricket's first-ever concussion substitute but failed to do any magic in the first five tests. However, then came the home season when Australia played against Pakistan and New Zealand. His scores against both the teams read:  185, 162, 143, 50, 63, 19, 215, 59.

In his one Test against India so far, the rookie Australian faced one of the world's most lethal bowling attack led by Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah. Despite playing just one match, he is full of confidence that he will stay "a step ahead" of the Indian bowling attack come December when India is likely to lock horns against Australia.

Although Labuschagne feels all the Indian bowlers are good, it is Jasprit Bumrah who he thinks is the toughest to face. "They are all good bowlers but it is hard to get past Jasprit Bumrah," the 26-year-old told news agency PTI in an interview.

"He has the ability to consistently bowl around 140 kmph and swing the ball when conditions are suitable. He is also able to angle the ball back in at the stumps.

"You always want to test yourself against the best. Jasprit is probably the leader of that attack," said Labuschagne, who averages 63 after 14 Tests with four hundreds and seven half centuries.

Labuschagne also feels that Ishant Sharma, in the past two years, has been phenomenal. "Ishant has been very good during the last couple of years. Coming over here and angling the ball back into right handers, that would be a good challenge for us also," the emerging Australian star said.

A deeply religious person, Labuschagne has a verse of Bible inscribed on the back of his bat. In a highly competitive sporting world, faith in religion gives him direction and perspective.

"Religion gives me perspective. At some point, I can be obsessive about cricket but there are more important things in life rather than only playing the game that I love. And I am happy that I have been brought up in such a manner," he concluded.

(With PTI Inputs)

Posted By: Shashikant Sharma