Time: 4 Mar, 10.30 AM IST
Venue: Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi
It might be difficult for the seamers to extract any purchase from the wicket for longer periods. The spinners, though, will play a big role throughout the game. Showers are forecast for days three and four.
Probable XI for Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Babar Azam (c), Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shaheen Afridi, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Naseem Shah
Probable XI for Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on the recent performances, overall impact, and credit points.
Babar Azam’s wicket will be of utmost importance for Australia. He has scored two nineties and a hundred in his last four Tests against them. Moreover, Babar loves playing at Rawalpindi. His scores at the venue read 102*, 143, 77, and 8.
Steven Smith might not have scored a century in his last 10 innings. However, he has four fifties and two hundreds against Pakistan in nine Tests, including the highest score of 165*. His ability to play spin well will be an added advantage for Australia.
Pat Cummins will lead the pace department for the tourists. He has taken 27 wickets in his last five Tests. In the past, he has also bailed out Australia by scoring some useful runs down the order.
Not only does Marnus Labuschagne average 56.92 in the longest format but also has the rare ability to convert the fifties into hundreds consistently. He has slammed 12 fifties and 6 centuries. Once he gets his eye in, the bowlers have to work hard to dislodge him.
With the pitch offering turn, Nathan Lyon will be a tricky customer for the Pakistani batters. He has taken 19 wickets in the last 4 Tests against them.
Pakistan will rely on Shaheen Afridi for picking wickets at regular intervals. He has bagged 34 wickets in his last five matches.
Australia will be wary of Sajid Khan’s threat. Although he has played only four Tests, his 12-wicket haul helped Pakistan beat Bangladesh a few months ago.
After returning to Test cricket in 2020, Fawad Alam has slammed four hundreds and three fifties. He can be slow at accumulating runs but often gets the desired result.
Usman Khawaja is expected to open the batting. His recent resurgence against England (twin-hundreds) augurs well for the tourists. Furthermore, he has scored 496 runs at 70 against Pakistan.
Naseem Shah is fast and has the ability to reverse the ball. With his style of bowling, he could easily clean up the Australian tail in one feisty spell.
David Warner has the ability to score quickly, regardless of the format. He averages a colossal 108.4 against Pakistan, including a highest score of 335*.
Mohammad Rizwan will be cock-a-hoop after a stellar performance in the Pakistan T20 League. He is expected to generate fantasy cricket points with both bat and gloves.
Australia will be touring Pakistan after two decades. Both sides have met 66 times in the longest format, with Australia winning 33 and Pakistan 15. Although Pakistan won their last two Tests at Rawalpindi, Australia will have fond memories of beating the hosts in 1998.
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