Fantasy Cricket: Australia vs Pakistan Test I Preview

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CRICKET - AUS vs PAK Test I

It is the opening Test of Australia’s home summer and they are up against Pakistan. As the two sides chase points in the World Test Championship, they couldn’t be more contrasting. Not least at the venue of the first Test, Gabba.

Aptly named the ‘Gabbatoir’, Australia haven’t lost here since 1988. That was when the ‘golden era’ West Indies were in full flow. Since then it has been 30 Tests that Australia haven’t lost at Brisbane. As for Pakistan, they have lost their last 12 Tests in Australia and would be desperate to stop that rut.

Australia Preview

The hosts will hope that their batting clicks better than how it was in England. Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne were the torchbearers in the Ashes. Together they scored about 44% of Australia’s runs in England. Having them in your fantasy side is a given.

Australia’s bowlers are also definite picks in your side – especially the pacers. Pat Cummins (29 wickets) and Josh Hazlewood (20 wickets) were all over England during the Ashes. The bounce at Brisbane should aid them. Keep an eye on Nathan Lyon as well, who revels in Australian conditions.

Pakistan Preview

Pakistan are looking for a change of fortunes, under their new skipper Azhar Ali. They need a win to come out of their current four-match losing streak. However, they haven’t won in Australia since 1995. Breaking that will take a lot from their batsmen Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq. Both those have looked in good touch in the warm-ups and look a good pick.

The visitors have always boasted of excellent bowlers. The 16-year-old Naseem Shah set to debut here comes on the back of exciting domestic performances. Mohammad Abbas and Shaheen Afridi are also great fantasy picks.

Fantasy Players to Watch

Steve Smith had scored runs at will against England. He will be looking to start the home stretch with runs and is a must pick for your side.

Babar Azam is one of the most exciting Pakistani batsmen of recent times. The top-order bat will look to lead his side once again.

Pat Cummins has been in excellent form for Australia in all formats. His accuracy makes him a great pick for your team.

Predicted XIs

Australia: 1 David Warner 2 Joe Burns 3 Marnus Labuschagne 4 Steve Smith 5 Travis Head 6 Matthew Wade 7 Tim Paine (C & WK) 8 Pat Cummins 9 Mitchell Starc 10 Nathan Lyon 11 Josh Hazlewood

Pakistan: 1 Shan Masood 2 Azhar Ali (C) 3 Haris Sohail 4 Babar Azam 5 Asad Shafiq 6 Iftikhar Ahmed 7 Mohammad Rizwan (WK) 8 Yasir Shah 9 Shaheen Afridi 10 Mohammad Abbas 11 Naseem Shah

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