Pakistan has arrived in Australia for a three-match test series, beginning with a day-night test in Brisbane. We take a look at the main talking points ahead of the match and give our tips for finding the best betting options.
In the 2014/15 series, Australia was deeply embarrassed. The Australians caved to spin in the UAE, but as is often the case in matchups between these two sides, the home side usually prevails – so Australia is well and truly expected to bounce back from that 2-0 series defeat two years ago.
Both games were bossed by Pakistan. By 221 runs and 356 runs. Expect none of the same here, and more of the same of Pakistan’s last trip to Australia – they lost all nine games across the three formats including a 3-0 clean sweep in the test matches.
1 David Warner, 2 Matt Renshaw, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Steve Smith (capt), 5 Peter Handscomb, 6 Nic Maddinson, 7 Matthew Wade, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Josh Hazlewood, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Jackson Bird.
The Australians will be unchanged from the side that saved some face and beat South Africa in the third test of that series. Despite several of the personnel changing the group will also be on a high after sweeping New Zealand in the interruptive ODI series.
Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Sharjeel Khan, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan, Imran Khan.
Pakistan hasn’t shown their hand yet, but they have retained the same group of players that were soundly beaten by New Zealand recently. While competitive at times in that series, their batsman lacked runs and made things incredibly hard for their talented bowling unit. They’ll need more from the likes of Misbah, Ali and Sami Aslam.
Australia: Josh Hazlewood is the completely unregarded, humble and quiet achieving lynchpin of the Australian fast bowling stocks that rarely gets the credit he deserves. His accuracy and patience traits pale in comparison to the speed and swing of Mitchell Starc, however, they are arguably more important to his team’s chances. He’s unrelenting and the perfect foil for Starc, especially as players relax a touch when they don’t have Starc screaming in at them. Look out for Hazlewood to have a big impact on this series.
Pakistan: The fast Australian pitches could suit one player more than any other in the Pakistan squad, and that’s Sarfraz Ahmed. The wicketkeeper-batsman loves to play his shots; hit through the line. Consistent bounce and with a bit of speed behind the ball (especially at the GABBA) could suit his game immeasurably. He could thrive with the extra bounce unlike some of his teammates who may struggle.
Australia – $1.38 at Unibet.
Pakistan – $6.60 at Betfair.
Draw – $7.40 at Betfair.
Australia will be far too strong over the three games let alone the series opener. They’ll boss the tempo of the game, so expect huge totals and twenty wickets. Australia to carry on their revitalisation and get their second straight win with the exciting and young squad.
Usman Khawaja to top score at $4.50 from William Hill looks like good money. He loves batting in Australian conditions and generally turns hundreds into really big ones.
Wahab Riaz may enjoy the extra pace of the GABBA if he gets a chance to play. Cricket fans all over the world will remember his spell during the World Cup to Shane Watson and if he can generate anywhere near the same sort of pace and discomfort in spells here he could easily be the top Pakistan bowler. $4.50 again at William Hill.
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