Australia have named an unchanged playing XI for the second Test against Pakistan starting on Boxing Day in Melbourne, while the visitors have been forced into several changes due to injuries and dropped experienced wicket-keeper batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed.
The hosts cruised to a dominant 360-run victory in the first Test in Perth and see no reason to tinker with a winning combination. Openers David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne were in ominous form, scoring centuries in both innings, while the pace bowling trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood ripped through the Pakistani batting line-up.
Pakistan, on the other hand, have been dealt a blow by injuries to key players and have made a number of changes to their squad. Fast bowler Khurram Shahzad and spinners Abrar Ahmed and Noman Ali have all been ruled out of the match, while Sarfaraz Ahmed has been dropped after a disappointing performance with the bat in Perth.
Mohammad Rizwan is likely to replace Sarfaraz Ahmed behind the stumps, while Mir Hamza and Hasan Ali are in contention for Shahzad’s place in the attack. The visitors will also be hoping for a better performance from their batsmen, with Babar Azam and Fawad Alam in particular needing to step up if Pakistan are to have any chance of leveling the series.
AUS vs PAK Playing XI:
David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matt Renshaw, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon
Azhar Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (c), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mir Hamza, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sajid Khan
The match is set to be a fascinating battle between two in-form teams. Australia will be looking to wrap up the series early, while Pakistan will be desperate to bounce back and keep the contest alive. With both sides evenly matched on paper, it promises to be a thrilling encounter.
In addition to the changes to the playing XIs, there are a few other things to look out for in the second Test:
- The weather could play a role, with rain forecast for the first few days of the match.
- The Melbourne Cricket Ground pitch is traditionally a good one for batting, so we can expect to see some big scores.
- The Boxing Day atmosphere is always electric, so the players will be keen to put on a show for the crowd.
Overall, the second Test between Australia and Pakistan is shaping up to be a must-watch event. With both sides evenly matched and plenty at stake, it promises to be a close and exciting contest.
DISCLAIMER: This team is based on the understanding, analysis, and instinct of the author. While selecting your team, consider the points mentioned and make your own decision.