Headingley: After coming in place of injured Steve Smith into the third Test match of the ongoing Ashes, Aussie batsman Marnus Labuschagne has said that it will be tough for anyone to fill Smith's shoes.
His remarks came after the close of play on day three of the third Test at Headingley. England were 156/3 at stumps in pursuit of 359 for the win.
"It will be tough for anyone to fill Steve Smith's shoes. I am just focussing on my game and I am not bothered about the outside news," Labuschagne told reporters.
"Yes, you want to score a hundred but it was about getting the biggest lead possible. The motive was to get the lead over 350 and get into a good position to win the match," he added.
Labuschagne went on to play a knock of 80 runs in the second innings to propel Australia's lead to 358. The right-handed batsman also played a knock of 74 runs in the first innings as well.
The right-handed batsman credited his stint with county Glamorgan, saying playing domestic cricket in England helped him to prepare for playing against the swinging ball.
"My job is to contribute to the team and make sure we are getting ourselves into a good position. I am sure that is everyone's mentality in the dressing room and for me, it is no different," Labuschagne said.
"Obviously when you are scoring runs, you get to know your game a little better. I am showing more discipline and it is good. Playing for Glamorgan helped a lot, playing 10 first-class games was very helpful in playing against the moving ball. It has built my confidence and transitioning into Ashes cricket was easy as my focus on red-ball cricket," he added.
Labuschagne was hit on the head twice by bouncers bowled by pacer Jofra Archer. The batsman said that he was trying to sway away to avoid the bouncer.
He also revealed what type of questions are asked by a team doctor when any batter gets hit on the head.
"As I said, you do not like getting hit on the head. But it definitely wakes you up when you get it. I felt a bit stiff when the ball struck me, I kept trying to sway, but my back is not that flexible. It's funny when the doctor comes out to check up on me," Labuschagne said.
"The questions like who is the bowler on the other end, who was the last wicket, are asked by the doctor when we get hit on the head," he added.
Australia had to toil hard for wickets in the second innings as Joe Root and Joe Denly frustrated the bowlers. However, Labuschagne remained hopeful of Australia's win in the match.
"Yeah, the wicket has flattened out a bit. If we show the same discipline we showed today, we will reap the rewards," Labuschagne said.
England will resume day four of the third Test later today at 156/3, still, 203 runs away from the target.
Australia currently have a 1-0 lead in the ongoing Ashes. If they win the third Test, they will retain the urn....