Which Test team will Australia choose in Pakistan?


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Australia have plenty of options for their first Test team in Pakistan on Friday, but if they follow local knowledge they could end up sticking to their traditional formation.

After choosing a larger-than-usual 18-man squad for the tour’s three-game Test series leg due to the threat of COVID-19, it gives Australia the chance to quickly replace the players if the virus hits.

The expanded squad, plus the utility provided by the all-rounder Cameron Green, means interim coach Andrew McDonald could be looking to move away from the usual lineup of five specialist hitters, Green as six, Alex Carey as goalkeeper then in the first line. bowling attack from three setters and Nathan Lyon to give effect.

Mitchell Marsh is another versatile option although his bowling has dropped in recent seasons and would not be considered a realistic option as a third suiter if two spinners were used in Australia’s first visit to Pakistan since Mark Taylor’s team won a three-test contest. 1-0 in 1998.

If the first pitch at Rawalpindi looks to be friendly, uncapped leggie Mitch Swepson and Ashton Agar will battle to be Lyon’s accomplice, meaning Cummins will be forced to choose between Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland to be his second pacer.

Pakistan have favored pace over rotation in all five Tests played at home since returning in 2019 after two decades of hosting matches in the United Arab Emirates for security reasons.

In their return match, played in December of that year, they chose couturiers as their front four bowlers and barely bowled many rounds apart from a few overs from part-timers in a tie ruined by rain in Rawalpindi.

Leg spinner Yasir Shah contested the second game of the series in Karachi but the pace dropped 16 of 20 wickets as Pakistan crushed Sri Lanka by 263 runs.

Pakistan hosted Bangladesh for what was supposed to be a two-game series in 2020 and after their fast bowlers accounted for 16 wickets in the first Test win, the second game was called off amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 was beginning to wreak global havoc.

They hosted South Africa for two Tests last year, bringing left-arm spinner Nauman Ali to partner Yasir while playing three setters with the tweakers taking 14 wickets between them on a Karachi swing bridge in the first match.

The second game was at Rawalpindi and after launching the same attack, the spinners took just one wicket between them as the rhythm battery sealed an emphatic 2-0 series triumph.

Australia’s batting roster seems set in stone. Usman Khawaja, despite some low scoring when promoted to open on a green wicket from Hobart, is expected to partner David Warner with Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith and Travis Head forming the middle order.

It seems unlikely that the No. 6 slot will be taken from Green by Marsh, although there is a small chance that Australia could choose Agar, by far the best hitter among bowlers, as the second spinner in a five-a-side bowling team and promote him or keeper. Alex Carey mounts the order.

Mitchell Swepson (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Cummins will play, Lyon too, which means the remaining two places are up for grabs between Hazlewood, Starc, Boland, Swepson and Agar.

Hazlewood only played the first game of the Ashes’ 4-0 triumph due to side strain, but he and Cummins are the only two Australians in the top 10 of the ICC Test Bowlers Ranking.

Boland was the find for the Ashes, but with just three tests on his resume, he’s unlikely to get the nod ahead of Starc. You can bet Shane Warne will tweet before day one that he’d probably drop Starc if he was manager.

So that means if the Australians don’t think the pitch will turn enough to bet on Swepson’s debut, then Starc will have another opportunity alongside fellow NSW three Cummins, Hazlewood and Lyon.

Australia’s options in Pakistan

The probable and traditional XI

  1. David Warner
  2. Usman Khawaja
  3. Marnus Labuschagne
  4. Steve Smith
  5. Travis head
  6. cameron green
  7. Alex Carey
  8. Mitchell Starc
  9. pat cummins
  10. Nathan Lyons
  11. Josh Hazlewood

The two spinners XI

  1. David Warner
  2. Usman Khawaja
  3. Marnus Labuschagne
  4. Steve Smith
  5. Travis head
  6. cameron green
  7. Alex Carey
  8. pat cummins
  9. Nathan Lyons
  10. Josh Hazlewood
  11. Mitch Swepson

The five bowlers XI

  1. David Warner
  2. Usman Khawaja
  3. Marnus Labuschagne
  4. Steve Smith
  5. Travis head
  6. Alex Carey
  7. Ashton agar
  8. Mitchell Starc
  9. pat cummins
  10. Nathan Lyons
  11. Josh Hazlewood

The radical and versatile heavyweight option

  1. David Warner
  2. Usman Khawaja
  3. Marnus Labuschagne
  4. Steve Smith
  5. Mitchell Marsh
  6. cameron green
  7. Alex Carey
  8. Ashton agar
  9. pat cummins
  10. Nathan Lyons
  11. Josh Hazlewood




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