Pakistan, Australia to faceoff in historic Test series
Pakistan will face Australia in the first Test of the three-match series, starting from Friday at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
The series is a historic one as this will be the first time when both teams will play on Pakistani soil in five-day cricket in more than two decades.
Both teams have competed in 66 matches in the five-day format where Kangaroos have a far superior record with 33 wins compared to 15 victories of the Green Caps.
Pakistan will be entering the contest in high confidence, largely because they will be playing against a top Test playing nation on their home soil after more than nearly 15 years.
The new management, under the coaching of Saqlain Mushtaq, will be hoping that the players will use their series as an opportunity to showcase their talent.
However, the home team have little preparation under their belt, especially in red-ball cricket. The majority of the players selected in the Test squad are coming on the back of playing in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and it will be interesting to see how they will cope with playing the longest format of the game.
The home team will be without all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz who has been ruled out of the series because of an injury.
Other than him, pacers Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf and Faheem Ashraf will miss the first Test because of injuries and covid-related issues.
In the batting department, the home team will be heavily relying on the likes of captain Babar Azam, in-form wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan, veteran middle-order batter Fawad Alam and opener Shan Masood to score the bulk of the runs and give the bowlers something to bowl with.
On the bowling front, the onus will be on the likes of pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah along with the spin duo of Sajid Khan, Nauman Ali to dismantle visitors’ batting lineup.
After comprehensively beating England in the Ashes series recently, Australia will enter the upcoming contest against Pakistan with high confidence.
The management will be hoping that the players will produce similar kinds of performances on the historic tour.
In the batting department, the visitors will be heavily relying on veteran opener David Warner, Usman Khawaja, in-form Marnus Labuschagne and experienced Steve Smith to score the bulk of the runs and put the home team under pressure.
On the bowling front, the onus will be on the likes of pacers including captain Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood along with veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon to restrict the home team to a manageable total by claiming timely breakthroughs.
Both teams will be coming in the series feeling good about themselves and hoping to start it with a positive result.
On paper and according to the conditions, both teams are extremely competitive and it is hard to predict an outright winner.
To make things even more complicated, there are very good chances of rain in the three out of the scheduled five days of the match. Therefore, the prediction is for the match to end in a draw.