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Pakistan make two massive changes for third Test against Australia, young batter set to make debut

Pakistan have already lost the three-match series down under against Australia having lost the first two matches. But with WTC points on offer, third and final Test will be crucial for both teams and the visitors have made key changes to their line-up.

Written By: Aditya Kukalyekar @adikukalyekar New Delhi Published on: January 02, 2024 11:58 IST
Pakistan vs Australia
Image Source : GETTY Pakistan team

The ongoing Test series between Pakistan and Australia is set to conclude with the third and final game to be played Sydney from January 3. It is a massive occasion with this being the Pink Test and also the last game in the format for the Aussie opener David Warner. As for the context, the World Test Championship (WTC) are on offer too even as Australia have already sealed the series with wins in first two matches. Like they did in the first couple of Tests, both sides have announced their playing XIs a day before the Test match with the visitors making two massive changes to their line-up.

Struggling opener Imam-ul-Haq has finally been dropped and Saim Ayub, the exciting young batter, has been included in the playing XI and he will open alongside Abdullah Shafique in the last Test. Moreover, Pakistan have also taken a huge decision to rest Shaheen Afridi to manage his workload. His pace was one of the major talking points in the first two Test but the left-arm fast bowler bowled superbly at the MCG picking up six wickets.

For the first time, Pakistan are set to take the field with a specialist spinner as Sajid Khan has replaced Shaheen. The visitors were hopeful of mystery spinner Abrar Ahmeds regaining fitness just in time for the final Test but that hasn't happened. All eyes will be on 21-year-old Saim Ayub who averages 46.47 after 14 first-class matches having amassed 1069 runs with a high score of 203 to his name.

Pakistan's playing XI: Abdullah Shafique, Saim Ayub, Shan Masood (C), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Agha Salman, Mir Hamza, Sajid Khan, Hasan Ali, Aamer Jamal

Meanwhile, Australia have announced an unchanged playing XI with all the focus on Warner who will be taking the field for one final time in the format and that too at his home ground. The hosts will be keen to give him a winning farewell.

Australia's playing XI: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

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