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Other SportsAustralia v Pakistan, 2nd Test: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and...

Australia v Pakistan, 2nd Test: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

The State of Play

Australia couldn’t have scripted a better 2023, having retained the Ashes on English soil before a World Cup win in India.

Pat Cummins’ side are flying and they showed no sign of easing up with a crushing 360-run win in Perth in the first Test. Key to that was David Warner who answered his critics in what is his final Test series with a brilliant 164 that laid the foundations for Australia’s success.

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Pakistan will hope, and expect, the MCG pitch to be more docile than the spicy track they encountered in Perth that played perfectly into the hosts’ hands.

Any kind of result in Melbourne will be viewed as a positive and keep the series alive before the teams head to Sydney.

Team News

Pakistan could make a change behind the stumps. The experienced Sarfaraz Ahmed struggled in Perth while Mohammad Rizwan impressed during the hastily arranged two-day practice match against Victoria in Melbourne. Rizwan looked in good nick, hitting 50 off just 70 balls before retiring.

The tourists will have to make one change with Khurram Shahzad ruled out of the remainder of the series with a side problem. It further depletes a bowling attack already missing the injured Naseem Shah while Haris Rauf opted to play in the Big Bash instead of the Test series.

Australia are likely to go with an unchanged XI.

Expected line-ups

Australia: Warner, Khawaja, Labuschagne, Smith, Head, Marsh, Carey (wk), Starc, Cummins (c), Lyon, Hazlewood

Pakistan:  Shafique, Imam, Masood (c), Babar, Shakeel, Rizwan (wk), Salman, Ashraf, Jamal, Afridi, Ali

What they said

Australia captain Pat Cummins on their first Test win
“Great start to the summer, everything fell into place. We’ve played a lot of cricket, so the build-up was very chilled and relaxed. No hiccups this week, it’s all gone to plan.”

Pakistan batter Saud Shakeel on playing at the MCG
“The matches in Melbourne, I’ve seen it’s not that hard to bat on. I’m really looking forward to this Test match. The boys are feeling good; it was a very healthy practice session and the players look in good nick. I think you’ll get the chance to see a complete turnaround, especially in this Melbourne Test.
“It’s a unique feeling and the excitement of this particular Test match is like no other. It’s a huge opportunity for us, still.”

When and how to watch

The match takes place at the MCG in Melbourne, starting at 2330 on Christmas Day. You can watch it in the UK on TNT Sports 3 with the coverage also starting at 2330.

Prediction

It has been a stunning 2023 for Australia. Expect them to finish it in style by taking an unassailable 2-0 series lead against Pakistan.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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