The Australian pace bowlers continue to be the main attraction in the series against Pakistan, despite the ongoing distractions surrounding David Warner’s return to international cricket.
The day before the third Test against Pakistan, a new festival was taking place at the Sydney Cricket Ground, illuminated by the sun of the new year.
Australian captain Patrick Cummins announced that Warner Week has commenced.
I believe everyone will have their own perception of him.
The description of opening batter David Warner allows for a fair amount of interpretation, considering how polarizing he is compared to other players.
If Pakistan had successfully capitalized on their opportunities to win in Melbourne and tied the series 1-1, then the retirement of a prominent cricket player after 112 Tests would have had to share the spotlight with this match as a deciding factor.
Unfortunately, Pakistan’s performance has declined and they have lost the series. The focus of the upcoming third match will be on a farewell celebration. This was made clear during Cummins’ press conference, as he answered 13 questions about Warner and only 11 about other topics.
And that was before Warner went public with the tale that his baggy green cap had been either lost or stolen in transit from Melbourne, prompting an invitation from Schapelle Corby to swap notes about experiences with Qantas baggage handlers. Somehow he has always found a way to become the story.
Regardless of whether he wears a new cap or not, Australia will rely on Warner’s performance for more than just symbolic reasons. They are counting on him to produce runs once again at the same venue where he previously scored a century against Pakistan in just one session.
The upcoming match still offers the opportunity to earn points in the World Test Championship. As Cummins mentioned, Australia has already lost some points due to slow over rates during their time in England. However, this has not motivated them to increase their pace on the field. Nonetheless, both teams are determined to secure a victory.
Therefore, Australia will stick with the same lineup, trusting their experienced players to complete the task. They are fortunate to have all three of their top fast bowlers healthy and performing well.
Cummins stated, “The three of us are all very new and inexperienced.”
This summer, the schedule includes two Tests with a break in between, followed by another two Tests and then a gap before facing New Zealand. We will see how it goes, but everything has been going well so far.
Therefore, Pakistan spent the day discussing modifications. Their leader, Shan Masood, was thirty minutes late to his press conference due to ongoing discussions about team composition that were still unresolved at that time. The team announcement was made several hours after.
Primarily, this entailed a strong desire to incorporate the unpredictable element of leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed, who has claimed numerous wickets in his six matches since making his debut a year ago, although often conceding a high number of runs.
In a desperate attempt to gain an advantage, Pakistan was drawn to the idea of using Sydney as a spin-friendly venue. However, they were also determined to give their injured player a chance to recover, but ultimately had to abandon that plan. Instead, they will rely on off-spinner Sajid Khan.
However, the history of Sydney as a cricket field has evolved over time. In recent years, the pitches have primarily favored high scoring games, with 26 team innings surpassing 400 runs. The highest score was achieved by India in 2004 with 705 runs and 7 wickets declared.
The local curators have been making efforts this season to enhance their Sheffield Shield pitches. The Test strip, which was examined the day before the game, displayed attractive patches of green grass. However, this has occurred in the past and has proven to be deceptive.
Shaheen Shah Afridi, who has been performing well in the series, will not be a part of the pace leader position due to being overworked in the previous two Tests. This means that the upcoming attack will include Aamer Jamal, who debuted in Perth and has shown promise; Mir Hamza, who caused Australia to struggle at 16-4 in Melbourne; and Hasan Ali, the senior option with 24 matches under his belt, who was unlucky in his last outing.
Agha Salman’s bowling was only utilized in the first two Tests as a part-time spin option. However, he will remain in the team due to his strong batting performance in the Melbourne run chase. The last alteration is the inclusion of 21-year-old Saim Ayub, who is highly regarded for his aggressive batting, replacing the more conservative Imam-ul-Haq. While the Pakistan board’s press release listed Saim as the opener, it is also possible that he will bat in the middle order while Masood opens.
Masood’s goal of leading the team by setting an example of aggressive cricket aligns with his statement during the press conference, where he stressed the importance of maintaining a high scoring rate against Australia, who he considers to be the top team in the world currently.
Warner will have one more chance to enhance his reputation. According to Cummins, the ideal farewell for Warner would be scoring a hundred and taking the last wicket of the game with a leg-spin delivery from the rough. However, it is unlikely as Warner has not bowled in a Test match since 2016. This could also refer to any leg-spin bowler, but Abrar will not be the one for Pakistan.