KARACHI: Australia won the toss and elected to bat against Pakistan as leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson made his test debut on Saturday.
Another slow low-bouncy wicket has encouraged Australia to go with a specialist leg-spinner — Swepson — for the first time in a test match since 2009 with veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
“It looks like a really good wicket,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said. “Mitch has been around the squad for many years now (and) we’re pumped for him.
“It’s a good toss to win but it doesn’t guarantee anything. I think it’s going to be tough at times for both teams. Our job now is to bat big.”
Unlike Pindi Cricket Stadium pitch in Rawalpindi which was rated as “below average” by the ICC, the wicket at the National Stadium is expected to break up as the match progresses and help the spinners.
Pakistan also made two changes but retained both its specialist spinners Sajid Khan and left-arm spinner Nauman Ali, who took a career-best 6-107 in the first test but not before Australia had made a solid reply by racking up 449.
Fast bowler Hasan Ali and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf both returned after missing out the first test due to injuries. They replaced fast bowler Naseem Shah and all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed.
It’s the first tour of Pakistan by Australia in 24 years.
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (captain), Mitchell Swepson, Nathan Lyon
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (captain), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan, Faheem Ashraf, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi
Umpires: Aleem Dar, Pakistan, and Ahsan Raza, Pakistan.
TV Umpire: Rashid Riaz, Pakistan. Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle, Sri Lanka.