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Australia v Pakistan: First Test preview

Australia are back in action on Thursday when the first Test match against Pakistan gets underway at Optus Stadium in Perth.

After celebrating World Cup success and taking a well-earned break, it is back to business on home soil with Test matches against Pakistan and West Indies to come this summer.

The Baggy Greens are the overwhelming hot fancies to win the three-match series and can be backed at 1.11 to do so.

Pakistan are priced at 12.00 to cause a huge upset, while a drawn series is available at 11.00.

The Aussies have a great record in Perth, so let’s take a look ahead to the first Test.

WhatAustralia v Pakistan
WhereOptus Stadium, Perth
When14th - 18th December, 2023
How to watchChannel 7, Kayo, Foxtel
OddsAustralia 1.25, Draw 7.00, Pakistan 8.00

Australia love the West

Australia are undefeated in Perth since the new Optus Stadium was built, replacing the WACA.

They have seen off India, New Zealand and West Indies and now Pakistan face a massive task in trying to cause an upset.

They have not played a Test at Optus, but did play a T20 international, which they lost by 10 wickets.

Aussies at full strength

Australia head into the first Test with a full-strength squad available to them after star off-spinner Nathan Lyon recovered from a serious calf injury.

Lyon, who picked up the injury during the Ashes, is crucial to the Australian side and he can be backed at 5.50 to be Top Match Bowler.

There will be one or two dilemmas for the selectors however, with competition for places in the side fiercer than ever.

Despite some calls for David Warner to be left out following some poor form at Test level, the selectors will keep faith with the opener.

Warner is set to play his final Test matches before retirement and he will be keen to go out with a bang - he can be backed at 6.50 to be Top Match Batter.

Mitch Marsh has been outstanding since the Ashes and looks sure to get the nod to bat at six in front of his home supporters in Perth.

That means there could be no place in the side for another Western Australian, Cameron Green.

Australia (probable): David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

New era for Pakistan

Pakistan are set to begin a new era under captain Shan Masood, who replaces Babar Azam, but the tourists have been hit by injuries.

Leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed picked up a leg injury during the clash against the Prime Minister’s XI last week and looks unlikely to feature in Perth.

They do still have plenty of quality in the side, including opening batters Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq, who are capable of piling in the runs.

They are priced at 13.00 and 12.00 respectively to be Top Match Batter.

Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali will also lead the attack for Pakistan as they attempt to stifle a strong Aussie batting line-up.

Pakistan (possible): Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood (c), Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Nauman Ali, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali.

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