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06-Oct-2018 11:00:00 GMT
Pak v Aus - 1st Test, Dubai

Australia name three debutants as they seek fresh start

Dubai: All eyes will be on a new-look Australian side that will don the white flannels for the first time after the ball-tampering debacle in South Africa in March 2018.

The visitors will be without the services of banned batsmen Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, as well as seamers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, who are injured.

Aaron Finch, the Twenty20 International captain, and Travis Head have been drafted into the playing XI for the first Test. Along with the duo, Queensland batsman Marnus Labuschagne will also be handed his first Baggy Green in Dubai, as confirmed by captain Tim Paine in the build-up to the game.

Australia have also recalled Peter Siddle and will want him to combine with Starc to generate a formidable pace attack to support Lyon.

Pakistan, meanwhile, have their own set of conundrums to solve. They are coming off a disappointing campaign in Asia Cup 2018 and while they drew the two-Test series in England before that, they have questions to answer in their bowling line-up.

Seam bowler Mohammad Amir has been dropped from the 17-man squad and wrist-spinner Shadab Khan will miss the first Test due to injury.

Captain Sarfraz Ahmed will rely on the leg-spin of Yasir Shah and might consider bringing in off-spinner Bilal Asif to exploit the conditions.

Top order batsmen Azhar Ali, Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam will be required to be at the top of their game.

Teams

Pakistan (from):
Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Hafeez

Australia: Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Mitch Marsh, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine (c), Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Jon Holland

Pitch and conditions
The hot and dry conditions in Dubai are expected to remain during the Test. Spin bowlers might be in play right away.

Statistics and triva

  • Finch has scored 4957 runs for Australia in limited-overs cricket without earning a Baggy Green, which stands as the record for most international runs scored without playing Test cricket.
  • Lyon, with 306 Test wickets, needs five to surpass Brett Lee and eight to overtake Mitchell Johnson and move to fourth place in Australia’s all-time wicket-takers’ table.
  • Yasir is 12th on Pakistan’s all-time bowling charts, and if he takes 14 wickets in the series he will jump to eighth.

Match facts
7-11 October 2018
Start time: 10:00am local (6:00 GMT)


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