Skipper Babar Azam won the toss and made the call for Pakistan to bat first in its first test on home soil against Australia in 24 years.

Pakistan opted to go with a pair of specialist spinners, Nauman Ali and Sajid Khan, and fast bowlers Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi in its attack.

The 19-year-old Naseem has returned to the test lineup after more than a year out since playing his last test against New Zealand at Christchurch. He returns to the same venue — Pindi Cricket Stadium — where he took a hat-trick in a test match against Bangladesh two years ago.

Left-handed opener Imam-ul-Haq was preferred to Shan Masood, who scored prolifically in the recent Pakistan Super League but was left out of the test XI.

Azam, experienced Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam will form the backbone of the strong middle-order, with wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan at No. 5.

Australia’s attack will comprise three pace bowlers — captain Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood – and Nathan Lyon as the specialist spinner.

Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja was picked to open the innings for Australia with David Warner.

Players and officials will wear black armbands as a tribute to Australia’s former wicketkeeper Rod Marsh, who died on Friday at age 74.



Australia: Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (captain), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (captain), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Umpires: Aleem Dar, Pakistan and Ahsan Raza, Pakistan. TV Umpire: Asif Yaqoob, Pakistan. Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka).

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