After an exciting first test Australia and Pakistan are set for their second match of this series on boxing day. This historic test is always very special for Australia and they will try to keep it a memorable one. On another hand, Pakistan will try to snatch a victory and an inspiring fight back on the 4th innings will certainly boost their confidence.
Australia could start with an unchanged squad. Jackson Bird was patchy and Lyon struggled when team required him more. Starc and Hazelwood both bowled a lot on the first test and there was a rumour that Starc may be rested but latest news has confirmed that the pacer duo will start tomorrow. In the case of Pakistan, their main power is their bowling force which was not impressive. They will try to improve in that section and continue their 4th innings batting performance. Pakistan could make a change in their bowling line up. Right-armed Sohail Khan may replace Rahat Ali in the squad.
Melbourne is all type of ingredients for this important test. The wicket should be flat but will help spinners in the later stage. Australia will hope an explosive innings from David Warner who is having a wonderful One Day season though his test performance is not that good and in MCG his record is too poor. He has managed to score only 218 runs in 5 test matches with an average of 24.22. Ex-Skipper Mark Waugh thinks that in this boxing day Warner will be back in his form in test matches too. In the case of Pakistan, they need Babar Azam to perform well like he did in West Indies. Experienced Younis Khan and Misbah-Ul-Haq is their strength in the middle order and Asad Shafiq’s brilliant innings under pressure also proved that he can perform well too and will increase their batting depth in the middle order.
Pakistan’s last victory in MCG was in 1981 and it was one of their 4 test victories in Australia. After 1995 they have lost 10 straight tests in Australia and even in MCG Australia have a 5-2 advantage, so all the statistics are in Australia’s favour. Pakistanis have often disappointed when expectations are high so in this condition, they can turn things around. Both the captains are eager to make this test memorable so the spectators can expect another nail-biting finish like the first one.
Expected Starting Squad:
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Amir, Imran Khan/Sohail Khan, Mohammad Asghar
Australia: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird