ABOUT THE MATCH
Australia starts its test-match summer with the first of two matches in this series with Pakistan, which forms part of the ICC World Test Championship. The match takes place at The Gabba, Brisbane, between November 21-25.
Australia’s first series in the new ICC World Test Championship was the Ashes, which they drew 2-2 to retain the urn thanks in no small part to Steve Smith’s batting excellence. They will be keen to get back to winning ways as big favorites for this series.
Pakistan is the only team yet to play a match in the new Championship so far, having last played a Test in January when their 3-0 series whitewash defeat against South Africa was completed.
With a hard, fast surface and generally excellent conditions forecast, Australia may want to bat first and rack up a big score in their first test innings of the summer.
PITCH AND CONDITIONS
A little bit of cloud cover and some wind will be the only weather factors of any concern in Brisbane this week, with conditions expected to be perfect otherwise.
The Gabba tends to produce hard, fast wickets for the first test of the Australian summer – lending itself to batsmen but also offering some zip for the pace bowlers.
PROBABLE PLAYING XI OF AUSTRALIA
David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon
PROBABLE PLAYING XI OF PAKISTAN
Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali (c), Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Yasir Shah, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas
- James Pattinson will be suspended for the first test after being found guilty of using abusive language while playing for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield.
- With Peter Siddle also left out, it means the pace attack will be Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, alongside Mitchell Starc who found himself out of favor during the Ashes.
- Joe Burns is set to open the batting with David Warner.
- This is Australia’s first test series since the Ashes when they drew 2-2 with England and retained the urn.
- Steve Smith was in outstanding batting form, scoring 774 runs across four matches, but defeat in the final test having also lost a thriller in Smith’s absence in the third test meant the two teams shared the World Test Championship points on offer.
- Pakistan has overhauled the bowling line-up from their most recent test series, with no place for Mohammad Amir or Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali out injured.
- Shaheen Afridi, Yasir Shah and Imran Khan all come into the squad, while it has been confirmed 16-year-old quick Naseem Shah will make his test debut.
- With Sarfaraz Ahmed not selected to tour, Azhar Ali will captain the team and Mohammad Rizwan will keep wicket.
- Pakistan has not played a test match since their 3-0 series defeat to South Africa at the turn of the year.
- Pakistan scored 181, 190, 177, 294, 185 and 273 in their six innings, falling short on too many occasions as they suffered their three relatively heavy defeats.
Australia will want to kick-off their test-match summer with a win and the form book certainly suggests they will do just that against Pakistan.
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