Pakistan leave out Shaheen, Australia unchanged for Warner’s farewell Test
Sydney, JAN 2: Australia opted on Tuesday against playing a second spinner in the final Test against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground, naming an unchanged line-up for David Warner’s farewell match.
Skipper Pat Cummins confirmed Australia’s fast-bowling trio had all recovered well from the second Test in Melbourne four days ago after clinching the three-match series with a tense 79-run win.
Pakistan have made two changes.
There is a Test debut for Saim Ayub, who will open the innings replacing Imamul Haq while senior fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi has been left out for off-spinner Sajid Khan.
“You always have to look at the bigger picture after a game like the MCG. We’ve learned the lessons, at least we’ve put ourselves in those positions from where we could compete in or dominate games,” skipper Shan Masood said on Tuesday.
“It’s now about not repeating mistakes, and if we can put in similar efforts to the one in Melbourne, we’ll be winning a lot of Tests,” Shan said.
The SCG has a reputation for taking turns, but the hosts did not consider bringing a second spinner into the team to partner Nathan Lyon, Cummins said.
The pitch looked well-grassed on the eve of the Green Shirts’ final match of their Australia tour, which will also be opener Warner’s 112th and final Test.
“The weather looks pretty good this week and that’s not always the case in Sydney,” Cummins said ahead of the Test, starting on Wednesday.
“The groundsman seems happy with where it’s at. It looks like decent coverage of grass, so it should be a good week ahead,” he said.
The Sydney Test has a history of being rain-affected with 26 washed-out days, the most of the Australian Test venues. But there is only a medium chance of showers this week.
Meanwhile, Warner made a public plea for the return of his baggy green caps after they went missing from his bag while being transported from Melbourne.
In a post on Instagram, the veteran said some of his possessions got lost in transit.
“Someone has taken my backpack out of my luggage from Melbourne to Sydney […] inside this backpack was my Baggy Green cap,” Warner said.
“It’s something that I would love to have back in my hands walking out there this week,” he said.
After months of speculation about his place in the team, Warner will get the send-off he desired in his home city after scores of 164, 0, 38 and six in the Pakistan series so far.
“Best-case scenario is a (Warner) hundred and maybe a leg-spinner to take the last wicket of the game out of the rough,” Cummins said.
“If he could score some runs and go off in style with a few fours and sixes, I think that’d be a pretty fitting end. ‘Warner Week’ has started,” the Australian skipper said.
Warner, 37, goes into his final Test having plundered 8,695 runs at an average of 44.58, with 26 centuries and 36 half-centuries.
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