In the opening Test match against Australia, Pakistan has opted for a relatively inexperienced bowling attack for the second time. Aamer Jamal and Khurram Shahzad will both make their Test debuts, with Shaheen Shah Afridi leading the attack. This decision means there is no room for Hasan Ali or any specialist spin bowling, with Agha Salman, a batter and part-time spinner, taking Noman Ali’s place. Seam-bowling allrounder Faheem Ashraf will bat at eight in order to provide Pakistan with batting depth.
There were few surprises in the batting line-up, with Mohammad Hafeez and Shan Masood talking up Mohammad Rizwan’s all-round contribution to the side. However, Sarfaraz Ahmed is the wicketkeeper while Rizwan remains on the bench. Abrar Ahmed, Pakistan’s first-choice spinner, was injured ahead of the Perth Test, leaving the team with the decision to play Sajid Khan as his replacement. However, Khan’s lack of readiness led to the team ditching the idea of a specialist spinner altogether. The pitch, though under covers for most of the day, has heavy patches of greenery two days out from the Test, and Pakistan captain Masood expects it to provide significant assistance to fast bowlers.
Meanwhile, Australia announced their starting XI three days out from the Test. They will play three specialist fast bowlers, spinner Nathan Lyon, and seam-bowling all-rounder Mitchell Marsh. The Pakistan XI for the first Test against Australia includes: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood (capt), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Agha Salman, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheeh Shah Afridi, Aamer Jamal, Khurram Shahzad.