Finally the summer of Test cricket is upon us, with so many intriguing storylines that will provide two competitive series for the Australians on home soil. Will anyone be able to get Steve Smith as he ventures into cricketing immortality? Can Australia find a mix of batsmen who can support Smith? Will this be Tim Paine’s final summer in the Test side? Can a young Pakistan bowling attack take it up to the Aussies? Strap yourselves in for what looks set to be an exciting series.
Thurs Nov 21, Gabba, 11:00am (AEDT)
The most interesting aspect of the summer is Steve Smith’s legacy, he steps foot on home soil in a Test match for the first time since he hoisted the Ashes in January 2018. After his legendary display during the Ashes in England, there is no doubt that Smith will once again thrive this summer. In his last Test series in Australia, Smith scored 687 runs at an average of 137.40 and against a young Pakistani pace attack, will be looking to make a statement from early in the series. In his last four Tests at the Gabba, Smith has scored three centuries with an average of 77, including knocks of 130 and 63 when Australia last played Pakistan at the Gabba. Smith loves batting at the Gabba. You’d be a brave man to bet against Steve Smith to continue that form to be Australia’s first innings leading run scorer at $2.50 with SportsBet.
Mitchell Starc will be fighting with James Pattinson for the spot as Australia’s third fast bowler this summer. With Pattinson being given a one game suspension for a code of conduct breach, Starc has been given first crack at the position and will be looking to cement his spot in the side. The Gabba has been a happy hunting ground for Starc having taken 25 wickets and is his second most prolific ground in Australia, only behind the WACA where he has 26 wickets. This is the first time Australia’s ‘big three’ has had some serious competition for spots and it means Starc has to perform or else he’ll be carrying the drinks for the second Test in Adelaide. Expect a fired up Starc to come all guns blazing and at $3.75 with SportsBet, is an excellent choice as Australia’s first innings leading wicket taker.
Babar Azam is looking to move himself into the upper echelon of Test batsmen and coming off a classy century in Pakistan’s tour match vs Australia A, he is hitting his strides before one of the most important series of his young career and will have to carry a heavy load for Pakistan. With Azhar Ali well and truly handing over the torch to the young superstar, it is up to Babar to lead the way for Pakistan. With not a great deal of depth within Pakistan’s batting line up, Babar is a great choice to be the first innings leading run scorer for Pakistan at $3 with SportsBet.
Mohammad Abbas was the chief destroyer when Pakistan defeated Australia in the UAE last year, taking 17 wickets in the two match series. Since Abbas debuted in Test cricket in April 2017, no bowler has taken more than 25 wickets at an average better than his 18.66, sitting as the twelfth ranked Test bowler, he is the key to leading an inexperienced attack down under that won’t be featuring Mohammed Amir, who has had success against the Aussies. His ability to bowl consistent line and length in long spells will give himself every opportunity to take wickets on a bouncy Gabba surface. At $4 on SportsBet, Abbas is a great choice to be the leading wicket taker for Pakistan in the first innings.
Note: Mohhamad Abbas was not selected in the 1st Test
We are set for what will be an entertaining series, there is plenty to be excited about when it comes to Pakistan’s bowling however their batting leaves plenty to be desired. With Australia possessing the number one bowling attack in the world that is fit and firing, along with possibly the greatest batsmen we’ve ever seen churning out runs on his way to greatness, which Aussie batsmen will stand up to help Smith? Can Marnus Labuschagne continue on from his impressive Ashes? Can Travis Head fulfil his potential? Whilst the batting depth for Australia isn’t perfect at the moment, it is stronger than Pakistan’s and in Australian conditions they will be too strong for Pakistan and continue Australia’s Test dominance at the Gabba. At $1.22 with SportsBet, they provide a nice anchor for your multi.
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