Pakistan opt to play without a specialist spinner in the XI – LSB

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Throw Pakistan Chose a bowl vs Australia

Captain Shan Masood won the toss and elected to field as rain threatened to spoil the opening day of the Boxing Day Test between Australia and Pakistan at the MCG.

The new-look Pakistani attack was hoping for early successes in overcast conditions in Melbourne on a surface just six-seven millimeters thick of grass. Masood expected lateral movement from the field throughout the match, while Australian captain Pat Cummins said he would have bowled first if he had won the toss.

Pakistan made three changes after losing the first Test by 360 runs in four days on the tough Optus Stadium surface.

Pakistan overlooked pacer Sajid Khan as they once again opted for an all-out attack. Veteran Hasan Ali and left-arm spinner Mir Hamza have been named and will support spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi and Aamer Jamal, who both made their Perth debut.

Seamer Khurram Shahzad, who impressed on debut with a lively performance in the first Test, was ruled out of the tour with a fractured rib while spinner Faheem Ashraf was dropped.

Mohammad Rizwan returned as wicketkeeper and replaced Sarfraz Ahmed, who was controversially favored in Perth.

Pakistan have lost 15 consecutive Test matches in Australia since 1999, but two of their four wins in the country have been at the MCG.

The all-strength Australia remains unchanged meaning there is no place for seamer Scott Boland, who averages 13.80 in Test cricket at his home ground at the MCG.

Heavy rain has fallen in Melbourne over the past 48 hours with showers and possible thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon of the first day. The weather is expected to improve as the match progresses.

Despite the gloomy surroundings, a huge crowd of 70,000 MCG fans are expected on Boxing Day, the marquee date of the Australian cricket summer.

Australia: 1 David Warner, 2 Usman Khawaja, 3 Marnus Labuschagne, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Travis Head, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Alex Carey (week), 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Pat Cummins (captain), 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Josh Hazlewood .

Pakistan: 1 Abdullah Shafique, 2 Imam-ul-Haq, 3 Shan Masood (capt), 4 Babar Azam, 5 Saud Shakeel, 6 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 7 Agha Salman, 8 Hasan Ali 9 Aamer Jamal, 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 11 Mir Hamza,

Tristan Lavallette is a journalist based in Perth

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