Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test Betting Tips
Rawalpindi, Friday 4th March, 3.00pm AEDT
Squad: Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (vc), Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Zahid Mahmood
It’s been a difficult preparation for the hosts with Haris Rauf (Covid), Abid Ali (heart complications), Hassan Ali (muscle strain) and Faheem Ashraf (hamstring) all out of the first Test.
Pakistan’s last Test series was in Bangladesh back in December 2021, which they won 2-0 with two comprehensive victories. Their last Test series at home was against South Africa back in February 2021, where they also won 2-0 with two convincing victories. Despite a good Test year in 2021, Pakistan ranks sixth on the ICC Test Rankings, having lost five of their last six Test series leading into 2021.
Pakistan will be buoyed by the first big nation to tour in Pakistan since the return of international cricket following the ten-year ban on international matches in Pakistan. There will be a mountain of pressure on Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan to score big runs in this series given the injuries Pakistan have suffered.
Babar scored 210 runs at an average of 52 in Pakistan’s last Test series against the Aussies, despite losing both Tests by an innings. Babar failed to score a century in 2021, averaging just 34 in 13 innings. It was the first time he went without a century in a calendar year since 2017.
Squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.
It looks like there will be one change from the 5th Ashes Test, with Scott Boland to make way for Josh Hazlewood. The Australians had considered playing Mitch Swepson but with the pitch in Rawalpindi looking quite flat, Pat Cummins has hinted they will go with three quicks plus Nathan Lyon. The biggest change for Australia is Andrew McDonald taking the reins as interim coach after Justin Langer’s resignation in February.
Australia comes into this series as the number one ranked Test team in the world after their 4-0 smashing of England during the Ashes, however Pakistan away will be a much greater challenge. The emergence of Travis Head and the return of Usman Khawaja during the Ashes should have the Australians confident about the depth in their batting stocks. Australia winning a series comfortably without Smith or Labuschagne having a major impact on the series shows this Australian team is heading in the right direction.
Australia will be thrilled with the pitch that has been produced for the first Test, with the pitch set to be flat and probably won’t spin until later in the game. With Green, Labuschagne, Head and Smith the Australians have plenty of options to turn to with the ball outside of the big four.
Given the injuries in the Pakistan squad as well as the conditions, Australia are a red hot chance in the first Test. The majority of the Pakistan players are coming straight out of the PSL with very little red ball preparation, which is a tough change when taking on the best bowling attack in the world.
The Australians will take some serious momentum into this tour on the back of a T20 World Cup win and an Ashes series win. Australia has had a dominance over the hosts in Test cricket, holding an 8-1-2 record in their last seven Test series against Pakistan.
Steve Smith dominated Australia’s last tour on the subcontinent, scoring 499 runs at an average of 71, with three centuries in four matches against India. Smith averages 53 against Pakistan in Test cricket and will be looking to produce a big tour after a quiet Ashes campaign. If Smith gets going, the Aussies are going to be hard to beat.
This is set to be a cracking Test match and the odds reflect that, Australia are in excellent form and with the conditions not out of favour, they’ll begin the series with a crucial win.